E-news Issue 7
Wednesday, 08 September 2021
Charles Darwin University
Tamarra and Warrwa (Termite Mound and Spinifex) courtesy of Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation.
Tamarra and Warrwa (Termite Mound and Spinifex) courtesy of Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation.

New exhibition at CDU features Gurindji culture in termite mound art

A new exhibition, Tamarra – Termite Mound, features the Gurindji culture through paintings of termite mounds at Charles Darwin University’s (CDU) Arthouse Café until 30 September.

The exhibition showcases new work from Karungkarni Art and Culture Centre artists, celebrating a unique exchange between Gurindji cultural knowledge and Western perspectives on termites and their incredible mounds.

The Gurindji people are from the upper reaches of the Victoria River, 360km south of Katherine.

In the 1960s, Vincent Lingiari led 200 Gurindji stockmen and domestic workers at the famous Wave Hill walk-off, also known as the Gurindji Strike, to fight for their rights for equal pay and ownership of their land.

In 1975, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam recognised the Gurindji people’s ownership of their land by symbolically placing soil into Mr Lingiari’s hands.

Tamarra – Termite Mound is held in conjunction with the annual Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture which CDU has been hosting since 1996, commemorating the Wave Hill walk-off and inviting high-profile speakers such as Sir William Deane, Gough Whitlam, Galarrwuy Yunupingu and Bruce Pascoe in the past. 

Prof Reuben Bolt, Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership and Regional Outreach, said the exhibition highlighted the importance of Indigenous knowledge in the art space. 

“I truly believe that there is a power in Indigenous knowledges both ancient and new that can contribute to the future success of all Australians. Exhibitions such as Tamarra provides us with a space where Indigenous and Western Knowledge intersect. It’s a unique place," Prof Bolt said. 

Artwork pictured by Briony Barr, Gregory Crocetti, Stephanie Daniell, Caroline Jimmy Namitja-Nanyi, Martina Mandijerry Napurrula, Ellie Simmons, Penny Smith, Joanne Stevens Nambin-Nangari, Lucy Tanami Namitja, Magdalene Winbye Nanyi, Margaret Winbye Nanyi, Roberta Winbye Nawurla and Jacqui Young. Tamarra and Warrwa (Termite Mound and Spinifex): aerial map 2021, synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen (Courtesy of Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation).