Christmas gifts with a difference

• Artist and author Chelinay Gates has taken inspiration from her novel Lucky-Child: The Secret for her new exhibition Dreamscapes, which takes the viewer deep into a journey which tackles indigenous identity. It includes these great images on the lid of the ubiquitous 44-gallon drum, while another haunting image is on the blade of an old shovel. It’s at the Moore’s Building in Fremantle from this Thursday to Sunday.

IF you’re struggling to think of something that’s not straight out of a catalogue for a great Christmas present, why not look into WA’s indigenous arts and culture. Here’s a few suggestions.

Art

Tjyllyungoo – that’s the traditional name of Lance Chadd – hails from Bibbulmun country down south and has links to a little-known but extraordinarily important aspect of post-colonial Noongar art. His uncles Allan Kelly and Reynold Hart were members of the Carrolup Mission who achieved extraordinary but fleeting fame in the 1950s. Encouraged by a sympathetic headmaster, the children of the mission were encouraged to explore their creative side, and the results were so impressive their works toured Europe to great acclaim. Their legacy of realism is carried on through Tjyllungoo, who says his works are an expression of unity with the land rather than an argument about who owns it. Find his collection at  http://www.tjyllyungoo.com.au

Sandra Hill also has a Carrollup connection; about 25 years ago she got sick of people dissing Noongar art as inauthentic and organised a seminal exhibition at Mandurah. She asked for some Carrolup works so the natural progression of Noongar art could finally be understood. Suffice to say it caught people’s attention and a number of careers were launched. Since then Hill has added a swag of exhibitions, collections, awards, public artworks to her CV. But she’s never stopped producing her awesome collectables, and we spotted some beauties at Mossenson Galleries: http://mossensongalleries.com.au/artist/sandra-hill/

Cultural tours

Walter McGuire’s a deeply respected Noongar elder who’s been working in the cultural field for more than 30 years, so joining him on a tour of “Elizabeth Quay and beyond” is bound to give you a deeper understanding of our history and the significance of this land. Mr McGuire does cleansing smoking ceremonies redolent with the smells of the bush. This ancient ritual is accompanied by traditional songs and their interpretations, sung in the local Noongar dialect. Catch him at http://www.gocultural.com.au/

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, sign up for a tour with Ngarluma/Yindjibarndi man Clinton Walker from Ngurrangga Tours of Karratha. We can’t guarantee that a day trip with Clinton to the Burrup Peninsula won’t leave you utterly depressed over our treatment of priceless rock art, but chill out with a couple of days down in the Millstream-Chichester National Park where you’ll see reminders of Afghan cameleers from our earliest exploration of the North West. Find Clinton at ngurrangga.com.au

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