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Exchanging Culture

IF YOU’RE AN Indigenous artist looking to explore your craft in an entirely different world, Artback NT’s Taiwan – Australia Indigenous Artist in Residence program is for you.

Applications are now open for this incredible opportunity, returning for a third year to offer an emerging or established Indigenous artist a fully funded six-week residency in the beautiful village of Rinari, South Taiwan.

Rachael Wallis is a dancer and choreographer based in Nhulunbuy, and was the inaugural Artist in Residence in 2018.

“Driving up to Rinari was really amazing because you have to drive up the side of the mountain and we’re just looking … big eyed – ‘wow is this where we are going?’ In Rinari, you are kind of on a plateau on top of a mountain – you drive up one side and there’s the village but then you look into the distance and there’s massive mountains all around.”

Bobby Bununngurr is a songman and multi art form creative from Ramingining (his outstation is Ngalayindi) and got a lot from his time in Taiwan last year.

“Working and creating with Taiwanese First Nations people truly inspired me and gave me a deeper understanding of, not only other Nation’s cultures, but the value and importance of my own culture and family.

“I showed them artwork, my painting. I told all the children to join me, I said to them, draw with me. And I drew with them a crocodile and a magpie [goose] and I told them, this is a part of my song and my story.”

Bobby says this cultural knowledge exchange is important because it continues the learning of traditional culture.

“I told them about how I came from Australia and I’m bringing connections to Taiwan, language and culture, everything … We keep our culture strong because we have many young children that need to … hold onto our traditional culture … every song comes from old people; they pass it on. That’s what we bring them and we record it, [then] we can play it to our people.”

Artback NT’s Executive Officer Louise Partos says the program has lead to great things.

“This residency has enabled First Nations artists from Taiwan and the Northern Territory an extraordinary opportunity to see first-hand how another Indigenous community operates outside of their respective countries.

“The artists who have previously participated in this cultural exchange program have made connections culminating in new work and have provided real outcomes for the Creative Industries in the Territory.”

Applications close Mon 9 Mar.


Photo header: Bobby Bununngurr, Remix Beauty and Image Studio.
Photo text: Rachael Wallis, Remix Beauty and Image Studio.

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