For the past five years, we’ve been working with the Irrungadji women to run arts programs, creating mentorship opportunities for junior artists. With a strong focus on the Seven Sisters Songline, these arts programs create a space for senior artists to share their painting techniques and skills, helping to facilitate the transmission of cultural knowledge.
Our latest trip took place at the start of April, where we joined the Irrungadji women out near Nullagine River. After some deliberation, they settled on painting the Nullagine River and the Seven Sisters travelling around the river for hunting and camping, with a videographer accompanying us to help capture the event and record the stories and importance of the river.
The first day took us out to One Mile, where everyone set up near Nullagine River and began painting. Both the junior and senior artists were provided with a number of smaller canvases for individual paintings, while other community members enjoyed catching fish and yabbies in the river with sticks and fishing line.
We went back out to One Mile on the second day and set up in a dry creek bed for a long day of painting. In amongst the painting activities, the Irrungadji women cooked some kangaroo tail, did interviews with the team and elders Amy French, Lily Long and Phyllis Francis sang a song for the Nullagine River.
On the last day, a community presentation of the painting was held at the Irrungadji Community. Everyone was welcome to come and celebrate the painting, partake in the barbecue cook up and enjoy spending time with the local community. Lucelle, the coordinator of the arts project, said it was her favourite painting yet because of the magnificent colours.
The Irrungadji women are going to discuss whether the painting will be exhibited, sold or displayed somewhere in Nullagine or Irrungadji, but it remains within the community for now.
As for the Terra Rosa team, we’re hoping to make the arts projects a more regular occurrence throughout the year, as they’re always a huge success and the women are always so proud of their artwork.