Paruku, Desert Lake

Desert Lake, art, science and stories from Paruku. Blog 13

Mandy Martin Gaining permissions Warrayunta Art Centre Photo David Leece DSC_0161 (74)

Desert Lake Project April 2012

The final big group trip to Paruku to work with the Walmajarri participants in the Desert Lake project, was another marathon event. Storm systems hovered around the Tanami Track but we managed to avoid heavy falls even though there were dramatic lighting displays far away to the north east the first few nights camping at the Lake.

Photo: Mandy Martin

Two new project members joined us this trip, on left, Tom Lynch, a writer and English Literature Professor, University of Nebraska Uni and right, Jocelyn Davies, Geographer, CSIRO ecosystem Sciences. (also left to right; Pirate the dog, Kim Mahood, Steve Morton and Faye Alexander)

The were several main tasks for the trip including seeking signed permissions on all the draft written and photographed material in the book.

Mandy Martin and Warruyanta Art Centre artists. Photo David Leece

Basil Hall, Basil Hall Editions, Darwin, had posted the 11 editions of screen prints in the Desert Lake folio, the art work for which had been painted on the August trip and the prints all needed titling, numbering and signing.

Jacinta Lulu and Mandy Martin, signing prints. Photo David Leece As usual all hands were on deck and everyone including the artists and scientists multi-tasked, helping screen print logos onto the new project shirts and in the photo below, Tom Lynch and Steve Morton, took it in turns “fixing” the logos with the iron while David Leece signed prints with Veronica Lulu.

Photo Mandy Martin The Warrayunta artists responded enthusiastically to Faye Alexander’s sculpture workshop. She had collected found metal materials and objects from the Mulan dump, and around the community and brought wool and fabric scraps from op shops in Alice Springs as a starting point to construct flowers.

Photo David Leece Faye worked, with Tara Lecke assisting and in this photo also Jessica Armson, the new Art Center coorindator.

Photo David Leece Meanwhile scientists, Jocelyn Davies, Guy Fitzhardinge and Steve Morton ran exhaustive interviews with the Paruku Rangers, Mulan Councillors, artists and members of the community, the new IPA coordinator and the Mulan Community CEO to discuss community resilience and how different people saw the future. This culminated in a full gathering at Handover site where we all discussed “Ways of Seeing Paruku”. Excerpts of this will become our final “Coda” for the book. The Handover meeting just happened to coincide with the Broome representative from the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Craig Creighton and the Balgo Art Centre coordinators, visiting the community. We were able to demonstrate that Warrayunta Art Center are engaged in a big project and in good shape to benefit from AGWA assistance to be part of an extensive proposed AGWA Kimberly project.

Rob Cossart, Department of Water, Western Australia and Rebecca Dobbs, Freshwater Ecology Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management, University of Western Australia, joined us from Kununurra at the end of the week to continue their on going research work. It was a holiday mood when we all went out to the Lake for a Welcome to Country for our newcomers and then a big fishing/ parasite sampling afternoon.

Photo David Leece

Rebecca Dobbs and Paruku Rangers. Photo David Leece

Rebecca and Rob and the Paruku Rangers worked with the women who literally hauled in the fish and as they did so they were analysed for nematodes and the results were recorded on the cyber-tracker.

The general consensus was the fish had far fewer parasites than the last survey and the women were very happy with their haul, the good fish being a great Friday meal. We drove back to Mulan across the vast grassy flood plains, staggered at the number of horses thundering past placid brolgas feeding in the long afternoon light.

Faye and Kim stayed on for another week to respectively continue the sculpture workshop and the signing of permissions. The rest of the group started the trip back home. Deadlines for the book loom and the artworks for the exhibition are all being photographed now by Mike Gillam in Alice Springs and the text is nearing completion. Mandy martin and Laura Boynes have just spent 4 days constructing a story board and editing hours of film and audio down to a 27 minute rough cut of the film. Permissions will be cleared on that hopefully in August and then Macquarie Bank editing studio will take the finished DVD to high resolution.

The film, book and website will all be launched with the first exhibition at Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs, 1 March 2013.

Mandy Martin May 2013