Lajamanu Visual Arts Research Residency 1990
For professional development Tim Newth took on a Visual Arts Research Residency to study Warlpiri art, attaching himself to elder Freddy Jangala Patrick [dec].
After first coming in contact with the remote Aboriginal community of Lajamanu In 1988 many basic concepts of who I was as an Australian artist were challenged. I thought I knew what it meant to be an Australia but after my brief exposure I realised I had to re-evaluate this idea.
I had been adopted into the Patrick family; Freddy Jangala Patrick and Myra Nungarrayi Herbert, both highly respected artists, had taken me on as their son. I received a grant from the Visual Arts/Crafts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts to study various art forms in the Aboriginal community of Lajamanu, Northern Territory. This gave me time over a two-year period to life and work alongside Freddy Jangala Patrick and his family. We would be going “hunting” with the purpose of finding the right shaped tree to craft a boomerang. In the case of the “number seven” (wilgi or goose-neck) boomerang there was a very particular relationship between the curve of the tree trunk and the root below the ground (see photo). Jangala was a skilled craftsman and respected elder. To be this he needed to have a highly refined knowledge of the land, the hard wood trees for the boomerang, soft wood for coolamons.
My time also involved preparing and being involved with ceremony, which was often highly demanding as ceremony is often held over the Christmas period where temperatures are regularly over 45 degrees Celsius. This was not only important in a doing way, but in a finding my place and relationship way. Country trips to visit important sites taught me of relationships between land and country. I learnt of country belonging to the Patrick family but also dreaming designs connected to Lajamanu (see photo of Lajamanu banners within the performance Lajamanu Kura Karna Yani). This time gave me my grounding in Lajamanu and a stronger understanding and connection to Warlpiri culture. Myra will often introduce me as her son and follow that up by saying that she bought me up “Warlpiri way”.
Freddy Jangala Patrick and Tim Newth
Visual Arts/Crafts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts
Dance Development Office: Sarah Calver
[Under Brown’s Mart Community Arts – Executive Officer Ken Conway]
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following pages, photographs and videos may contain images, voices, and names of deceased persons.
A short history of the long-term relationship between Lajamanu and Tracks Dance Company