Voice. Language.

acrylic on canvas
76 x 61cm

As soon as I heard the topic ‘voice’ I heard ‘Language’ in my head.

It is well within living memory that speaking our languages was made illegal by the colonial government, as well as any form of ceremony, dance, song, ritual etc. Our languages are again diverse, our dances helped translate our languages and were an essential aspect of the stability of our Cultures since the first sunrise. With our Cultural practices made illegal and with extraordinarily cruel punishments meted out, the speaking of language diminished on the eastern and first colonised part of the Continent.

Today our languages are being taught in Universities and there is are extraordinary benefits and well-being for we First Nations Peoples in immersing ourselves in that aspect of our Cultures again. My family Lore is Story Telling and I include Wiradyuri Language in my works as a priority of fulfilling that aspect of my Cultural Responsibility. In this case I’ve put how I feel about the work in Wiradyuri in the centre of the piece then translated from Wiradyuri to English somewhat randomly but still legibly across the central diamond which represents our Wiradyuri specific Diamond Lore, which Men’s Lore.

The 5 banded black crosshatch on white around the diamond refers to our scared White Ochre in Ceremony, to our sacred Smoke in Ceremony, to the counter clockwise movement we move guests in through our Sacred Smoking Ceremonies and the recessed aspects within and around the diamond refer to our Wiradyuri Cultural Practice of live Tree Carving and all the stories we tell in so many ways.

With this piece I honour those who’s Lore is also Story Telling, their practice and their Languages. In Wiradyuri – Gabi Yala wuurawin giilang wuurawin mundhanha ngiyanggarang nganha-guliya-gu wudhamugu. In english, loosely – Speak the Truth through voice that is heard beginning of a Conversation in the morning to awaken others story through smear. cover or spread as in painting that, there, that one, Deaf, literally ear-shut. Our voices often fall on deaf ears. It is a responsibility of Story Telling Lore to heal those ears so then can hear again.

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