That’s a great story, people at the exhibition will love …

Comment on Birth of an art movement: the untold story by Ralph.

That’s a great story, people at the exhibition will love it.
But a “coming together” at Papunya spawned the art movement?
The Pintupi were the outcasts there, referred to as “rubbish Pintupi”.
They were traditional (considered backward) when the other groups were rapidly adopting the skills needed to fit into the Whiteman’s world.
The administration burnt their spears in a public ceremony aimed at humiliating them.
It didn’t help that Papunya was not their country, they were trespassing on Arrente land.
Their leadership had been devastated in the 1960s.
In 1964 half the people who came in from the desert were dead within six months.
West Camp was squalid and infectious diseases ravaged the Pintupi living there.
The administration kept away from it, describing it as a heath hazard (for themselves).
Pintupi resilience was shown by moving away from Papunya, to Waru Wiya and Ya Ya and finally to Kintore in 1981.
While at Ya Ya they were often precluded from the benefits at Papunya such as food, because the administration there wanted them to return rather than assist their autonomy.
It was at Ya Ya that the art movement flourished, the Pintupi had no official support and were desperate for food and vehicles.
Art provided one of the few sources of income.
Ian Dunlop’s film shot at Ya Ya in 1972 provides a first hand description of the art movement facilitated by Bardon.
Whereas at Papunya official support for art was often directed away from the Pintupi, Bardon recognised their genius and focused on them.
The art movement has its roots in Pintupi autonomy and resilience in the face of adversity and discrimination.

Recent Comments by Ralph

Dumbing down Alice Springs
We all know that the NT Government is heavily mired in crippling debt.
Of course, the CDU has to be downsized and it must happen in a sensible manner.
Simply, which courses are producing real outcomes, i.e. getting students jobs?
Higher education for remote students is laudable but has failed at huge expense over many years.
How many Aboriginal teachers and nurses are there who are actually employed?
Almost none.
There are many courses that lead to almost zero employment outcomes.
Art courses in the Correctional Centre is one of them and this must be discontinued.
Music was abolished some time ago but somehow art survived.
The NT can no longer pay for recreational courses.
The NT Government and CDU do have to slash costs but should maintain the courses and staff that are producing real employment outcomes.
The rest do have to go and the sooner the better. We are broke.

Mating odour to catch feral cats
Cats roam and I wonder how many much-loved pet cats have ended up on this rural property.
Cats should always be trapped and taken to the local shelter.
Shelter staff and volunteers will then check for a microchip to see if there is a registered owner and advertise online to try to re-home. They are dealt with humanely at all times.

Back to the future with Warren Snowdon
@ Frank Baarda: The helium is a byproduct of Central Petroleum’s (ASX CTP) Mt Kitty petroleum system to the far west of Alice Springs near the Kintore community.
The Suprise 1 well at Mt Kitty pumped oil for more than a year that was transported in tankers. Little has been reported by the company on the commercial possibilities of the helium.

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.

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