Black Fella Talk
Soundscape made in collaboration with Christopher Williams
This audio project is based on the traditional Marawra Parinji Paakantji peoples’ language which is the language that is spoken around the lower Darling area. You will hear an acknowledgment to country which is “Nguupaa Kiiria Kiiria Waatalabaarna” (Our Country Beautiful Please Come). You will also hear various bird sounds and the naming in language of those bird sounds. The birds are: the black crow (Waakoo), the wedge tail eagle (Kiilpaara), the cockatoo (Guutha Guutha Guutha) & the willy wagtail (Chiddy Chiddy). You will hear “Wiimpii Pulkuu” (Black fella talk). It will give you an understanding of a language that is spoken only by a few people, mainly from the Mitchell and Johnson families who have close connections to the land, from the east of the Darling – Pooncarie to Willandra Lakes Region which includes Mungo National Parks, and west of the Darling to Lake Victoria. These areas are very important to the two family groups, the Mitchells and Johnsons; they still today have that connection to their country. It is where I grew up within my extended family; you will also here my story and of those around me. Ricky Mitchell
I was delighted to be asked by Ricky Mitchell to help realise his Wiimpii Pulkuu – Black Fella Talk for Palimpsest #9. Ricky took me to a place which was particularly special to him. It was a magnificent natural amphitheatre on a bend in the Murray with a impressive sandstone bluff rising up on the opposite bank. The birdcalls were amplified by the bluff and by the wide stretch of water coursing directly in front us. Here, Ricky recounted his association with this place and spoke the language of his people. Under Ricky’s direction, I produced the soundscape from my field recordings back at The Strange Mechanism studio. Christopher Williams
Mildura Palimpsest Biennale #9, October 4-7, 2013, commissioned 45 new artworks from Australian and international artists all based on the natural and cultural environment of this region. It also held a Symposium focusing on similar developments internationally where art provides a catalyst for renewal and change in marginal and remote communities.
Located near the junction of the mighty Murray and Darling Rivers, on the border of three states and inland to Lake Mungo World Heritage site, Mildura is a powerful location with a formidable history of engagement with the arts. Hugging the rivers, vast blue horizons intersect with row upon row of vivid green citrus and vines ruled into the red desert sands.
‘Palimpsest’ means a parchment which has been partly erased and re-inscribed, it evokes the marks made by human settlement on the land, the passage of time, presence and absence, and the web of inter-dependence uniting the natural and the cultural, the material and the immaterial.