Tjapangati, a few points: • An artist wanting a monetary …

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

Tjapangati, a few points:

• An artist wanting a monetary return on his or her work does not negate cultural reasons for doing that work, nor the work’s life in the culture independent of the artist’s intention.
• Your suggestion that there is no connection between the museum and the later painting movement ignores the visual evidence – the continuity in the iconography – and the historical evidence – some of the same artists going on to be involved in the painting of the school doors in 1984 and the founding of Warlukurlangu Artists in 1985,among them P. Japaljarri Stewart and P. Japaljarri Sims.
• I specifically make the point that recognition of what was happening at Yuendumu is not about ‘usurping’ the place of what happened at Papunya.
• The point about the insecurity of the murals at Papunya is suggested as a possibility. I should have sourced it anyway to Philip Jones. In his book Behind the Doors, he writes: “Without a secure and private space, the Pintubi artists had little alternative but to place their designs onto temporary and transient surfaces. Encouraged in this by Geoffrey Bardon, their art soon became both marketable and market-sensitive … The situation at Yuendumu offers a great contrast, for almost at the same time, the Warlpiri’s first efforts at mural painting were made securely and privately, on the internal walls of their own newly built museum.”

Kieran Finnane Also Commented

Yuendumu writes new chapter on the beginnings of contemporary Western Desert art
Tjapangati, On the question of the government’s ‘lavish’ construction of the museum, the following is interesting. An article published in the 1972 edition of the Journal of the Royal Historical Society in Queensland sources its information, or perhaps reprints an article from Northern Territory Affairs, a periodical published by the Federal Government’s then Department of the Interior. A digital copy of the RHSQ article is available online.

The article reports the museum cost $14,000, of which $7000 came from the Aboriginal Trust Fund (a fund receiving mining royalties from operations on Aboriginal reserves, this being in the days prior to Land Rights). According to the article, “The remaining $7000 was raised by the Aboriginal people themselves.”

The article also reports an extension to the recreation hall in Yuendumu at a cost of $54,000, with $25,000 coming again from the ABTF, and “the remainder from the settlement’s Social Club”. In comparison, the cost of the museum appears quite modest.


Recent Comments by Kieran Finnane

No gaol for Peace Pilgrims: sentence
Phil, They did indeed suffer consequence, as the article above and the series of reports from the trials make clear. For victimless acts of civil disobedience they were tried under harsh Cold War era legislation, facing maximum penalties of seven years imprisonment. This hung over them for a year.
They were found guilty and were sentenced, proportionately to the nature of the offence and their circumstances. Fines ranged between $5000 and $1250. Considerable penalties for people who live their lives in voluntary simplicity, without substantial income, and in service of those in need.


The ‘tough gig’ of doing things the right way
Thanks for the correction, Alex. I will amend the story accordingly.
I should also add that the demolition of the abandoned house, and the subsequent fencing of the site was done by way of compensation to custodians, after a telecom tower was erected on top of the range at the Gap without their permission.


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Mr Bell. This is what Mr McHugh said, after mentioning that there are limits on protests and referring to civil disobedience: “Notwithstanding, for example, what the Suffragettes did in giving women the vote in the early 1900s. Australia was one of the first countries in the world, I think, to allow that. There were civil disobedience matters in respect of those occurrences. Of course, the law has changed and so it should be.”
That sounds to me like a case for justifying civil disobedience rather than a case for accepting the limits to protest, which is what he was speaking to the jury about.


Master plan could turn around population and economic slump
Eden, are you aware of the Northern Institute’s research briefs, which can be found here:

http://www.cdu.edu.au/northern-institute/ni-research-briefs

Many of them deal with demographic issues. The last one specific to Alice Springs, however, seems to be from 2013.


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Yes, Alex, I was wondering about Adelaide House but I took the reference to Chapman house being the first double-storey building from the Heritage Register. It would be good to get it corrected there. I will change the wording in the article to “one of”. Thanks.


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