By Pamela Nathan
My friend and colleague Craig San Roque sent me this essay, which I may well have overlooked at this time of the year. I am indebted to him for sending it to me. I encourage you all to read it. It is a wonderful essay gathering rich soul foods of imaginings, artistic expression, creative generative possibilities, united holding and hope, the co-struggling between two peoples – Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal – and of the humanity in the space in-between incandescent in the central desert. It is a salutary reminder of the continuity of an ancient cultural world transitioning, traversing and cantilevering the wounds of clashing conflicted contact and the developments of the new imaginings and possibilities. It is a salutary reminder of the productive two-way process between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians who jointly record, symbolise, interpret, remember, collaborate and live the country of catastrophic loss, of colonisation and contact. Kiernan mentions artists, thinkers, writers and psychotherapists – David Mypetyane, Mike Gillam, Craig San Roque, Rod Moss, Margaret-May Turner and more – who have contributed to the “space in-between”. I pay tribute to them. These people straddle two worlds and, as Craig says, “live in it” in the Centre. These people and their work are a testimony to the daily wailing fires and to the glowing light and heat possible from the ashes. As Mrs Turner says: “Two cultures can hold each other” and do so in the Centre; holding and making cultural relationships, beliefs and imagination in the contact zone where the past has a living presence and where knowing this privileges a future. It is indeed a fertile space and it is refreshing and enriching to read about it.