Interesting story but… In the 1970s there was mainstream interest in …

Comment on Yuendumu writes new chapter on the beginnings of contemporary Western Desert art by Tjapangati.

Interesting story but…
In the 1970s there was mainstream interest in preserving and showcasing Western Desert culture and it was this interest that drove both the art movement at Papunya and in an ephemeral way at Yuendumu.
At Papunya, Geoffrey Bardon shaped his artists to produce art for a newly emerging market.
The artists were not self consciously engaged in cultural renaissance, they simply wanted money to access the goods of the society they lived on the fringes of. Ian Dunlop’s video of the interaction between Pintupi/Luritja people and Bardon in the early ’70s illustrates this nicely.
Painting at Papunya had nothing to do with insecurity of their murals, it had everything to do with having Bardon on hand and a market for their work and being paid.
That wasn’t on offer at Yuendumu at that time except for the one off museum project.
The lavishly constructed men’s museum was funded by government to address some of the sins of assimilation, to restore Aboriginal pride, in a changing political landscape.
But Aboriginal people had changed and there wasn’t much interest in protecting sacred items in the museum so these were neglected or returned to country to rot away, as is the custom.
There was no direct connection between the museum and painting for the market at the time and it was much later that the art movement took off in Yuendumu.
Even when it did start up Warlpiri men had little to do with it and women were mostly the artists.
So the museum doesn’t really connect with the Western Desert art movement as this story suggests and there can be no legitimate claim to usurp the Pintupi/Luritja originators.

Recent Comments by Tjapangati

End of search for Monika Billen
My drone flying friends say that not finding Monika is a disgrace.
Forget the old tech ground searches.
Fly the latest high tech drones equipped with high-resolution cameras or video and analyse the results.
She would have been found on day two after being reported missing.
After an initial cost of perhaps $100,000 the drone system would pay for itself within a year and the tourist industry would be better off.


The financial crisis in the Northern Territory
James, I suspect that remote community infrastructure does add to the NT’s revenue stream, as it always has. Case in point (admittedly dated):
Federal grant of $500,000 for remote preschool.
NT admin tax $250,000.
Old asbestos clad science block sent to the community (instead of dumping it}.
Over the next three months, Alice Springs tradies renovate the building.
There is no money left for painting so that becomes a school expense.
Darwin designed building has no security so is broken into and trashed, then closed for six months as the school tries to get it repaired.
So the NT Government gets a windfall profit, Alice Springs businesses do well and the community gets a high maintenance asbestos building.


At last, public will get a say on Anzac Oval: Town Council
Gunner has made the right call on the location of the proposed gallery and offered substantial funding.
No other sensible and economically viable location has been proposed.
The gallery will probably operate at a loss as does the Desert Park.
To be sustainable the loss must be minimised and it must add value to our tourist businesses.
South of the Gap / at the Desert Part are not suitable locations.
The Greens are engaged in misguided economically damaging democracy.
They are doing the same by using their position on the Water Board to slow down mining development at Mt Pearce.
This action threatens the offer of generous funding.


The millions and the misery
Eugene’s Mate: “Unreasonably negative and incorrigibly antagonistic attitude towards Congress pathological denial of Congress’s achievements? Very unfairly, maligning Congress.”
Any organisation that gets more than $40m a year of taxpayer money, has $20m unspent and has a stake in CentreCorp with assets of more than $50m absolutely needs to be held accountable.
It worries me that you fall back on excuses such as saying that poverty is the main driver of renal disease (and of course Congress can’t change that).
How about, a sedentary lifestyle, living in squalor, poor diet, alcohol and smoking, all of which Congress should be able to do something about.
But they haven’t despite all the millions.
A new approach is needed.
Take diabetes:
Although there are other factors, diabetes is a major cause of end stage renal disease. Many of us have watched the progression from diabetes to end stage over the years.
I’ve personally seen it a dozen times or more.
Uncontrolled diabetes is rampant in our community and the deaths are mounting.
Congress has largely failed to stem the tide so we need to try something else.
That is a medical approach.
Instead of expensively trying to change behaviour and failing we need new drugs and medical devices.
That means more money for research and probably less for Congress.
Of course that is confronting and will get the reaction we see from you.
But Aboriginal health is bigger than Congress and is the priority.
A medical approach has the potential to save many hundreds of millions of dollars and improve Aboriginal lives on a large scale.
That claim cannot be made about Congress.


The millions and the misery
Evelyne, the research to quantify the extent of HTLV-1 was carried out years ago and the results were scary for Aboriginal people.
There will be a large death toll in coming years.
Very little is being done to discover a drug to treat it.
Your question has broader implications.
Should the taxpayer keep funding preventative programs to the extent we do when they are not working?
Wouldn’t Aboriginal health be improved far more by putting the money into the development of medical responses.
For example, there is an urgent need for implanted insulin delivery devices that require diabetics to do nothing.
There are several life threatening diseases, HTLV-1 being just one, that urgently need medical approaches such as drug treatments for prevention and/or cure.
Aboriginal health would be improved far more by redirecting at least some of the tens of millions wasted on Congress to researching new treatments.


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