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 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
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
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
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.
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.