Category Archives: Culture

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Basket

A few months ago I posted a review of a documentary film, Tjanpi Nyawa (Look at the Grass)!, directed by the ANU’s Christine Keller, which offered a glimpse into the manner in which women from the NPY Lands collect grass (tjanpi) and … Continue reading

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Inside and Outside: an essay

Several weeks ago I wrote about a panel discussion at the Toledo Museum of Art in which the topic of restricted knowledge in Aboriginal painting—what Stephen Gilchrist referred to as “registers of knowledge”—created a degree of consternation among some members … Continue reading

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The Lake Where Cultures Meet

A desert lake.  Paruku.  Lake Gregory. This is the place where the ancestral hero, Kiki, came down from the east, a falling star.  Landed in the water and created seeds, grapes, bandicoot, and blue-tongued lizard. This is the place where … Continue reading

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Seven Sisters Dreaming

The story of the Seven Sisters who were pursued across the country by a man (wati) named Nyiru is one of the most widespread of Dreaming narratives in the desert regions of Australia.  It is also one that has instant … Continue reading

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Tiwi: Art, History, Culture

Among the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, with all the variety of language and culture they encompass, the Tiwi still stand apart.  Their language is an isolate, unrelated to those of the mainland.  Despite being among the first people to come … Continue reading

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The Poetry of Geography

I grew up near the ocean.  For the first eighteen years of my life a twenty-minute walk would bring me to docks and lapping waves, sand and seaweed and salt air.  I didn’t know how much a part of me … Continue reading

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Riches of the Canning Stock Route

The depth, the wealth, the variety of the material contained in Ngurra Kuju Walyja / One Country One People: stories from the Canning Stock Route (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) are such that I’m almost at a loss to begin describing it all.  A … Continue reading

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