Thank you Craig. The news came in the morning, a …

Comment on Eagle and Crow: Andrew Spencer Japaljarri by Hinton John Lowe.

Thank you Craig. The news came in the morning, a call from Christine Franks, dear friend of both of us.
Hearing the familiar voice brought immediate foreboding. That evening I sat in the vast concert hall of the Melbourne Arts Centre. The solitary violinist on the wide stage below, in his black Russian jacket, Maxim Vengerov, raised his bow and began to play one of the great masterpieces of European music; many would say a pinnacle of its genius, the Chaconne from the second Partita for unaccompanied violin by J. S. Bach.
Like the cumulus clouds in a Constable skyscape, the sounds swelled and soared, growing ever more immense in the spiritual power to which the music also offers reverence. In this I could find again the spirit I have known and loved in a great man of Central Australia, a mentor, a guide to profound understandings, and endless source of love.
Andrew knew no boundaries, at any rate as barriers, whether of place, of time, differences of culture or race; and above all, of kindness in its very deepest sense.
He had the view of the eagle, both of country and humanity, soaring far above, vast and one.
Like the paintings at their greatest. And above all else, he was a GOOD MAN, exemplar for us all.

Hinton John Lowe Also Commented

Eagle and Crow: Andrew Spencer Japaljarri
@Jake: the best you could do to answer your question is to ask and listen to those who were there. You are right- there was also public, and even political, promotion of the HALT work beyond the world of the communities we served. It had wide effect in spreading understanding of possibilities of working together in new ways, and which eschewed the need many outsiders engaging with Aboriginal people and communities seemed to have to dominate and take over any course of action. To advance Aboriginal interests and remedy some of the harms which had resulted from the tragic and sorry history of ‘interventions’ by outsiders – both well intended, but careless; and otherwise. In either case, usually based upon presumptions of authority, and, of course, incontestably knowing best what’s good, or right, for others!
The promotion work also had the purpose of building understanding and respect for the commitment, creativity and capacity for leadership within Aboriginal communities, which better than well equipped their constituents to invent, undertake and drive desirable changes towards futures chosen by themselves. Andrew’s paintings were one of those new inventions for healthy change. Ngapartji ngapartji was a term which tried to describe the new ways of working- more mutuality than exchange and transaction. In any case, I have never known a man who so entirely lacked any need for public attention, let alone acclaim. Yet his leadership was immeasurably more powerful, and wise, than the many whose work is driven by such needs and ambitions. Humility is not always abdication of power.


Be Sociable, Share!

A new way to support our journalism

We do not have a paywall. If you support our independent journalism you can make a financial contribution by clicking the red button below. This will help us cover expenses and sustain the news service we’ve been providing since 1994, in a locally owned and operated medium.

Erwin Chlanda, Editor