Kimberley artist shares culture and traditional beliefs  

[by Xenica Ayling]

Image: supplied

Yornadaiyn Woolagoodja  is a generous sharing of renowned Kimberley artist Yornadaiyn (Donny) Woolagoodja’s culture and traditional beliefs.

 

Full of extraordinary images of the landscape, rock art, stone arrangements and the artist’s paintings, this book is a feast for anyone interested in rich cultural heritage.

 

Yorna is the chairman of the Mowanjum Artists Spirit of the Wandjina Aboriginal Corporation, and he reached world-wide acclaim when his giant Namaralay Wandjina featured in the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

 

After many years of writing and collaborating on films and books, Yorna, with assistance from Kim Doohan, is finally telling his own life story in his own words.

 

“I had that feeling in my ngaanyoolum, my leeyaan, that I wanted to write this book,” said Yorna.

 

“Leeyaan comes from your maandoom. It is in your tummy. It is the feeling in your stomach that tells you what is the right thing to do – like a gut reaction.

 

“I was born in my Country and spent my childhood living with my old people, visiting Country with them and experiencing my Culture. The old people taught me what I know. I want this book to help all the younger generation – not just this generation, but the next ones too.”

 

Magabala Publisher Rachel Bin Salleh said “this isn’t your typical ‘biography’, it invites you to explore an alternative world-view and the possibility of a better-informed future for coming generations.”

 

The book contains special features on Joonba (‘Corroborree’), the Dambimangari Native Title determination story, and how to gain permission and show respect for Country.

Yorna Woolagoodja is a renowned Kimberley artist whose giant Namaralay Wandjina featured in the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. He is the chairman of the Mowanjum Artists Spirit of the Wandjina Aboriginal Corporation. Born at Kunmunya Mission, Yorna was moved along with his family to Mowanjum, well south of their Woddordda homeland. There he watched his Elders painting the Wandjina on bark and boards, and learnt the stories of Lalai (creation). His father was Sam Woolagoodja, one of the last Law and medicine men of the Woddordda people. After his father’s death in 1979, Yorna took on responsibility for the land and for the passing on of cultural traditions. He became active in the pursuit of native title and leads walking and camping tours in the West Kimberley, educating younger generations in cultural Law and the importance of the land. Yorna co-wrote Keeping the Wandjinas Fresh (Fremantle Press 2005) and has worked on many collaborative ventures, including books and films.

LATEST NEWS

First Nations advocate takes her place on the world stage

[Louise Crossen, Griffith News]

Human rights lawyer Sasha Purcell (Whaleboat) is one step closer to realising her dream of advocating for her people at the United Nations – winning a Fulbright scholarship to study a Master of Laws at New York University.

Always was and always will be Aboriginal water

[Scott Hamilton and Prof Stuart Kells, Uni Melbourne]

If we really care about closing the gap and achieving reconciliation, then we need a serious, fulsome discussion about Indigenous water rights and Indigenous Voice in water management.

Champions back new funding initiative for Lockhart River  

[by Christine Howes]

Puuya Foundation Chair Dottie Hobson said the State Government’s approval of funding for the pilot ‘Indigenous Futures: Social Investment Partnership Fund’ in Lockhart River had initially been delayed by Coronavirus restrictions, which delayed the State and Federal budgets.