Milpirri - Jurntu 2018


Lajamanu, Tanami Desert

Milpirri is based upon a relationship between Tracks Dance Company and Lajamanu community that began in 1988. It exemplifies how long-term relationships are vital to creative, collaborative, heritage-making. It is an intergenerational, bilingual, bicultural event designed to bring Warlpiri, and non-Warlpiri together to “enliven tradition for an intercultural twenty-first-century future” - Steve Jampijinpa Patrick.

“Milpirri is one of the most successful community arts collaborations today, modelling new trajectories for the arts industry and professional partnership. It is also one of the industry’s least well-known initiatives (at least, to the broader, non- Warlpiri, public) because it remains radically site-specific. Lajamanu is the northernmost Warlpiri community (technically situated on Gurindji country) of approximately five hundred people, located in the Tanami Desert, 950 kilometers south of Darwin. For one night only, every two years, Milpirri brings the whole Lajamanu community together in a spectacular high theatrical performance in Lajamanu itself.” - Dr Jennifer Biddle -University of NSW.

2018 Milpirri draws its material from the Warlpiri ceremony that teaches about law and justice. Themes: of Justice, Respect, Discipline and Responsibility. This year’s Milpirri is based on the Jurntu purlapa.  The Jurntu performance teaches a story about kuruwarri (the law) that was given to a woman, Jangiya (Liddy) Nakamarra, in the 1950s or 1960s. It is based on real events that occurred in the late 1800s or early 1900s, concerning a man who committed a very serious crime.

The themes of the Jurntu ceremony describe how all Warlpiri people are bound by the law and must face the consequences of their actions. Kuruwarri (the law) explains the proper functioning of the world, including the correct way in which humans should relate to each other and the world around them, as given to Warlpiri people through the Jukurrpa, rather than a set of rules designed and constantly modified by humans to regulate society.

Creative Team

Creative and Founding Director: Steve Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick
Warlpiri Cultural Adviser/ Elder: Jerry Jangala Patrick

Artistic Directors: Tim Newth, David McMicken
Traditional Choreography: Lajamanu Elders
Youth Choreography: Kelly Beneforti, Aaron Lim, assisted by Caleb Japanangka Patrick
Soundtrack Production: Marc Peckham and Rob Tremlett

Banner Designs: Read about and see the Milpirri Banners

Major Sponsor

Newmont Asia Pacific

Sponsors and Partners

Milpirri Festival could not continue to exist without the valued support of its sponsors and partners. These include: Newmont Asia Pacific, Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation, Central Desert Shire, Warlpiri Education and Training Trust, Regional Arts Fund NT, Darwin International Airport, Southern Cross TV

Tracks Government Partners

Tracks Inc is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; and is proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government.

The Regional Arts Fund is an Australian Government initiative supporting the arts in regional remote and very remote/isolated Australia. This program is delivered in partnership with the NT Government

Tracks 2018

Artistic Co-Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
Company Director: Adelaide Wood
Administrator: Jessica Mellor
Production Manager: Duane Preston
Dance Animateur: Kelly Beneforti
Bookkeeper: It Figures

Committee Members: Mary Durack (Chairperson), Glenn Bernardin (Treasurer), Michael Grant, David Taylor, Ken Conway, Venaska Cheliah. David McMicken, Tim Newth, Adelaide Wood (Ex-Officio Members)

Public Fund Trustees: Rev. Steve Orme, Dr Anita Toth, Ippei Okazaki

Patron: Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AM, Administrator of the Northern Territory

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following pages, photographs and videos may contain images, voices, and names of deceased persons.


Saturday November 3 tbc

Banner  Project

Over  fifteen  years  a  series  of  banners  have  been  developed  as  a  part  of  the  Milpirri performance.  The  banners  are  like  a  set  of  coat  of  arms  to  the  Warlpiri  people  of  Lajamanu. Each  individual  is  able  to  identify  which  banner  belongs  to  them  as  they  represent  their families  dreaming  symbol.

Milpirri  Banner  Project  will  involve  an  in-depth  consultation  process  led  by  anthropologist Miles  Holmes,  which  will  include;  talking  to  families,  visiting  sites  and  country,  listening  to songs,  viewing  paintings  and  or  dancers  and  accessing  knowledge  gathered  by  the  Land Councils  and  other  anthropologists.  Once  gathered  and  agreed  the  information  will  be  ready to  be  distilled  and  refined  before  finding  its  final  public  form  alongside  the  banners.

Milpirri  Artefacts

The  Milpirri  Jurntu  performance  theme  focuses  on  artefacts.  Tracks  will  collaborate  with  the Lajamanu  Warnayaka  Arts  Centre  towards  the  making  of  Milpirri  artefacts  (boomerangs, clap-sticks  and  dancing  plates),  which  have  either  disappeared  or  been  neglected  in previous  Milpirri  events.

A  2018  focus  on  artefacts  is  an  opportunity  for  male  and  female  members  of  the  community to  re-engage  in  cultural conversations  around  the  objects  and  revive  skills,  such  as  cutting specific  types  of  wood  in  a  particular  manner.

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