Background

The Warddeken and Djelk Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) constitute part of the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Reserve created in 1931. These lie adjacent to the world renowned Kakadu National Park, which is highly regarded for its range of rare flora and fauna and intact ecosystems, and where indigenous knowledge and culture remains alive and strong. 

Arnhembrand was conceived from invitations from both communities for a multi-disciplined and participatory project to take their community’s story to the world. After extnesive scoping and discussion, the eventual project was realised in the Djelk IPA.

The natural and cultural values of both IPA's are cared for by Indigenous rangers. To support their activities, a not-for-profit tax-deductable trust, the Karrkad Kanjdji Trust, was established www.karrkad-kanjdji.org.au/ The Trust acted as the conduit for this project.

While the principal activities in the Warddeken IPA are carried out by the rangers, in the Djelk IPA the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) oversees a number of subsidiary organisations. The Arnhembrand project was a very small project so we worked independently from any of these organisations over the two years, although at times we were assisted and were invited on visits by them, for which we gratefully acknowledge the support and cooperation. 

 

The Need

The traditional owners of West Arnhem Land live in a very remote part of Australia and in Country not easily accessible. For almost half the year, they are cut off by flooded rivers swollen by the summer monsoon.

Flying in to Maningrida. Photo Hugo Sharp

Flying in to Maningrida. Photo Hugo Sharp

Their environmental values are similar to Kakadu National Park to the west, and traditional culture remains strong. Rock shelters display rock art that could be up to 40,000 years old.

Many younger people in the community are caught between two worlds - that of white and black - and struggle to recognise and integrate the values of each.

The Traditional Owners’ and elders’ commitment and desire to maintain both the social and environmental values is clear. However, these attributes remain largely unrecognised by the wider national and international population.

There is a need to create a global appreciation of the incredible wealth of culture and environment held in West Arnhem Land and the work that is being done to support it by its Indigenous inhabitants and to boost the chance of the community becoming sustainable in the long term. 


Legacy

Vision

Arnhembrand established a contemporary methodology of
‘telling stories’ and creating ideas that are more in line with current methodologies of communication and information used by young people the world over.

The project outputs were multifaceted and are still being completed but will be seen over the coming months on this website, they include

  • an exhibition of paintings,  digital works and the Arnhembrand live performance video. Space Gallery. Macquarie Group. Elisabeth St, Sydney 6-27 July 2017 . The exhibition will be accompanied by a colour catalogue reproducing the artworks and including  essays by Mandy Martin, Bill Fox and Henry Skerritt. 

  • a portrait photo gallery of the Arnhembrand participantss

  • a photo gallery and blog providing ongoing commentary on the project 

  • The writings by Arnhembrand invited participants and links as they are published nationally and iternationally

  • a gallery of the Arnhembrand artworks by Bininj artists with oral interviews and the artworks by the Balanda artists

  • the Arnhembrand digital videos and and Arnhembrand live performance video

  • A video documenting the project

  • the archive of the project including the purchased Bininj artworks, donated Balanda individaul artworks from Mandy Martin, David Leece and Alexander Boynes and the  video works, will be donated to the Ceter for Art + Environment, Nevada Museum of Art

     

By fostering a new wave of contemporary art, Arnhembrand raised awareness of the environmental issues KKT is tackling in West Arnhem Land, taking the Djelk  message about how they care for their Country to Australia and the world.

This project has created support for KKT and the Maningrida community - through sales, and external exhibitions and contributing to their archival story records.

New technologies and methods
of communication have enabled the communities to tell their very positive story to a wider audience in new and exciting ways

Djelk Ranger Tara. Photo Hugo Sharp

Djelk Ranger Tara. Photo Hugo Sharp