The Men’s Tjilirra Movement is partnering with Papunya Tjupi Arts to offer Men’s Art and Cultural Revival Camps, generously supported by Arts NT. Jamie Millier Tjupurrula, CASSE’s Program Manager for the Men’s Tjilirra Movement, shares his story about the first camp…
We had a fantastic first camp for Papunya Men’s Art and Cultural Revival.
Monday, I arrived at Papunya in the early afternoon. I spoke with the art centre and then drove to the location where the men were. There were about 8 men at the outstation and the camp was already set up. we were lucky enough to have the Traditional Owner of the outstation with us. We set up the cooking area and sent the young men to collect the firewood. We spoke by the fire through the night about having a try of men doing canvas again.
Tuesday, The art centre worker and I organised pencils and paint and asked the men to try anything they wanted and anything they already knew. The men tried different colours and did some drawings as well. This was a good day. There was a trip back in to try and find more men. Men came back and tried some painting and we had a good night by the fire.
Wednesday, we had a big group of men, mainly young men. The art centre worker and I spoke with the outstation owner and asked if it was ok to paint an old car. He was happy to and wanted to be a part of it. I organised the men and took them to an old rusty car. I spoke about painting rock holes and that we would all practice on the car fist. The men got in and painted and had a great time doing it. The car looked amazing when we had finished. We went back to the camp and got the men to start painting rock holes on boards. Some of the men wanted to go back to community and they were taken and they didn’t want to stay. We still had a core group of about 10 men. This worked well and the remaining men worked on rock hole paintings. We also had one of the older men come from community and tell us dreaming stories by the fire at night.
Thursday, This day I spoke with the young men and organised them to collect firewood and cook a lot of roo tails for the old women that would be visiting. We cleaned up the camp and dug up patches of grass so we could offer the old women somewhere comfortable to sit when they arrived. I spoke to the men about staying true to the culture and giving offering to the old people. We gave the young men knobs of tobacco to use as offering to the old people, and the food and tea. The old people came and were happy that the young men were out of community and painting. The men brought roo tail and handed the tobacco to the old people and then collected boards and paints and sat with the old people and listened to the stories they can paint. Some of the young men have dangerous stories that they can’t paint so the old people navigated around that and gave the young men dreaming they could paint. The old people had a really good time and so did the young men. The old people left after the canvases were finished. That night by the fire some of the young men continued to draw patterns in the sand.
Friday, we packed up the camp and the men were all engaged and helpful and happy.