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TURTLES,
DINGOES
A}.ID
INRROTSi
PAMELA BROWN
On Friday, April 3, an exhibition of silkscreened
and batik fabrics and a collection of photos,
xeroxes, drawings, posters, text, film and music
opened in the Education Centre Gallery in
downtown Adelaide. This compilation docu-
ments the development and style of life of the
Broome Aboriginal Arts Group. The show was
put together during March by Jane Sindel,
Geoff Buchan and Jimmy Chi from Broome (a
town on the coast of the remote Kimberleys in
Western Australia). Jane and Geoff share a six
weeks artist-in-residency at the Experimental
Art Foundation and Jimmy is a singer/song-
writer who attends the Centre for Aboriginal
Studies in Music at Adelaide University.
In his explanation of the arts group, Geoff
talks about the turtle, the dingo and the parrot.
Imases of these three animals are recurrent in
from the contracts, the group explored com-
munity needs in the area of health, welfare,
housing, unemployment, alcohol situations.
The Dingo Deliveries business was always in
jeopardy. It was undercapitalised because we all
started from the dole. Our coverage for the arts
through business-welfare, and all these facets,
are difficult for funding bodies to comprehend.
It is capital that makes money. We feel that
funding a focus in the community such as ours
is a way of appropriately facilitating people to
meet their needs
-
by handing them responsib-
ility, capital equipment, management advice
and a subsidy better than the dole.
The parrot image is the multi-coloured over-
view. It is the way we look at using arts in the
community. It is a multi-dimensional approach,
and srows out of understandine. It is consistent
foci with an art-cultural base, operated in a
businesslike manner that is generated by
humanitarian motivation
-
giving people a
sense of purpose and belonging."
Music is an important part of Broome
community life. Three other musicians froin
Broome, Steve Pigram, Mikey Manolis and Gary
Gower, study at the Aboriginal Music Centre
with Jimmy Chi. Their music is unique
-
they
write contemporary songs about their land and
their life in the Kimberleys, and they played
these songs in concert at the gallery.
Jane, Geoff and Jimmy want to encourage
other groups to use the Broome modbl as a
basis in their own communities. As well as
talking informally with people who go to the
exhibition, they held textile printing sessions in
the gallery and a seminar to facilitate dialogue
and interaction with interested individuals and
groups.
The problems facing the groups are the
special fact of the remote location of their town
ship and undercapitalisation which leads to lack
of equipment and this inhibits efficiency. When
they return to Westem Australia, Geoff and
Jane will be going to the University of Western
Australia to propose the introduction of a pay
ro11 deduction scheme so that white Australians
can participate in a practical, non'academic way
in supporting Aboriginals in establishing their
own cultural facilities to meet the needs that
they know best. This money will be used to set
up a trust to go towards the establishment of a
Kimberley Cultural Resources Centre for Total
Learning. The group feels it is important that
funding comes from the private sector rather
than bureaucratlc channels until government
departments understand and accommodate
community requests. The group also wants to
create a paid position for one of their members
as a Community Arts Officer. This position
would become a focal.point in the Kimberleys
working towards the 1988 Bi'Centenary
Celebrations. Broome is a model town
-
it is
multi-racial and Aboriginal people there have
successfully established their own community
arts group. This is what they want to celebrate
in 1988.
rmages oI rnese rn
the work produced by the people in the group.
The turtle symbolises talent;- free creativity.
In the dingo, this natural talent is applied to
life.The dingo is cunning, and represents business
as a creative activity. The parrott is multi-
coloured and, because of its aerial mobility, it
symbolises an overall view of how arts can
enrich a community.
In May 1978 an Arts Employment Scheme
was set up in Broome. Geoff describes the
development of the scheme in aleaflet produced
for the exhibition: "It was a truly self-hrelp
enterprise, a total learning experience
-
ambi-
tious, purposeful,lively. All of us were originally
unemployed, and untrained in management.
Our employment project was cut after a year
-
we decided to use what we had acquired our-
selves, ie trucks and organisation
-
to run
agencies for an air cargo firm, courier service,
and a mail run to isolated Aboriginal com-
munities. This business was called'Dingo
Deliveries'. We ran the office efficiently (much
sacrifice) which gave us time to support com-
muntiy arts endeavours, ie music festivals,
youth activities, local newspaper, transporting
tribal people to ceremonies, sports etc. Apart
and grows out oI unoerstandmg. rt 1s conslstent
with discussions with elders on traditional
Aboriginal learning, and the second paradigm
of learning in education which evolved from
William Blake. This form of community learning
is being considered by adult educators as a way
of coping with the compounding employment
problems of the computer age
-
creating small
Above:'Aungrabin Goulil'
-
(Baad language)
Greenback Turtle. One of the groups designs
by Arnold McKenzie
Left: Jimmy Chi, songwriter from Broome
In the future, a comedy film called Dingo
Deliveries will be made by Aboriginal people
as an exercise in public relations for their group.
When they return to Broome, the group willbe
collating the documentation of the Adelaide
show and planning towards a larger multi-media
exhibition which will travel"
Contact: Valerie, Albert or Geoff Buchan
PO Box 332, Broome WA 6752. n
39