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Case Studies Papa Tales | RAF Case Study (2018)

Papa Tales #

Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPY) #

A Community Grant recipient, via the Regional Arts Fund, as managed by Country Arts WA.

Papa Tales brought together the unique artwork of Tjanpi Desert Weavers to life in the form of two short films, collectively titled Ngayuku Papa.

A collaboration between senior Tjanpi artists, film-maker and art-worker Jonathan Daw and artist Cynthia Burke utilised stop-gap animation technique to shares stories of contemporary community life, and the special role that dogs play in remote desert communities.

The project provides a platform to share contemporary cultural stories of Yarnangu life with wider Australian audiences through stop-gap animation film, using the expertise of Tjanpi fibre artists to create artworks to tell their stories and drive the narrative. The project drew from the strengths of Tjanpi fibre artists to adapt and evolve their fibre arts practice, to generate new artworks with internal armatures to allow movement and characterisation that could be explored in the stop-gap animation process.

Overall, this skills development endeavours to enhance future stop-gap animation projects – having developed and refined the process to suit the nature of Tjanpi artworks. Equally, it will have additional benefits in the creation of more general sculptures, in pursuing character and personality in the artwork.

Cultural & Economic Impacts:

  • Professional development opportunities for Tjanpi artworkers to be involved in the film production – for senior, new and emerging artists
  • 10 Tjanpi artists were given the opportunity to attend a dedicated artist development workshop to create work used in the two short films
  • Two grass collecting trips for 11 participants supported a number of other cultural maintenance activities; including hunting for food and collecting bush medicine
  • Artist skills gained through employment opportunity with Ngaanyatjarra Media and Tjanpi Desert Weavers.
  • Increased skills development – Tianpi artists enjoyed being stimulated to push the boundaries of their arts practice
  • Increased employment opportunities for remote artists involved in the project
  • Opportunity for further project development, including broadcasting, with further economic returns for participating artists

Social Impacts:

  • Innovative and experimental skills development for Tianpi fibre artists, including a new technique for creating sculptures specific to the stop-gap animation process to be used in future projects
  • Stories of Ngaanyatjarra social life and community were at the heart of the project, and were given exposure to a new and wider audience, traditionally not engaged through museums or galleries
  • Broadened community engagement both locally, through the film’s very well-received premiere at the Ngaanyatjarra Media Festival in Irrunytu, and on a wider scale via presentations at Revealed 2018, the Melbourne International Animation Festival and Desert Mob
  • Demonstrated leadership and cultural authority within the artists’ communities
  • The films will be used in an exhibition on Australians and their relationship to dogs at South Australia Museum in February 2019, allowing for greater representation in the museum context of Indigenous artists in mainstream exhibitions
  • Increased community capacity, via a process that was particularly engaging to younger women
  • Potential for the project to be upscaled into a potential series of short films, capturing Indigenous cultural and historical content, and broadcast through mainstream media


Tjanpi website

Image still from Ngayuku Papa by Jonathan Daw and Cynthia Burke, 2018. Western Australia. Copyright Tjanpi Desert Weavers, NPY Women’s Council


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