Artworks, tools and ceremonial objects are imbued with such knowledge. The maker of these items embeds their own understanding and interpretation of the world into the pieces. In a society which depends primarily on oral information transfer, these objects provide an alternative to the written word as physical representations of indigenous history and culture.
Currently the main route for capture of these physical elements is their purchase and display by institutions such as museums, galleries and libraries. In making such sales, the artists and artisans do realise value for their efforts to allow them to continue to practice their particular craft. However, at present, these pieces invariably leave the community to join a collection, often far removed from the community and the people to whom they relate.
James Leech, who is heading up the Keeping Culture Strong Project in Hope Vale, would like to see councils, institutions or other interested parties supporting the purchase of such local works by the IKC’s so that they can be retained within the community for all to see and admire. As part of this process, we would also like to see the artist’s interpretation of the work recorded for posterity either by written interview, audio recording or video recording.
To kick-start this initiative, Bob Magid has purchased the ‘Living Reef’ work by Roy McIvor and Gaye White has purchsed Evelyn McGreen's basket print will be presenting it to Greg McLean at the opening to be hung in the IKC.
Roy McIvor explains the story behind Living Reef, click on the video below to view.