The Kulata Tjuta Project is a series of major contemporary art installations that are rooted in age-old Aboriginal traditions, knowledge and skills, and designed around keeping country and culture strong by teaching young men the skills of carving punu (wood) and kulata (spear) production. These extraordinary installations feature carved spears made by Anangu men of the Amata community in South Australia’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, a large Aboriginal local government area located in the remote north-west of the state.
The Kulata Tjuta Project was established in Amata by senior artists Willy Kaika Burton and Hector Burton and now involves men from across the APY Lands. The first Kulata Tjuta work debuted at the Art Gallery of South Australia’s 2014 Adelaide Biennial, Dark Heart. This second iteration, commissioned by the Gallery for TARNANTHI | Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art 2015, will feature hundreds of spears arranged into a circular fence, the fence forming a stage before which inma will be performed. The men have again engaged Sydney-based Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones, and the installation and inma will take place at Government House on North Terrace in Adelaide. The Kulata Tjuta Project shares the skill of spear-making across generations with the resulting installation incorporating film, sound and live performance.
The circular fence of kulata represents Anangu culture, a culture that works in circles across the generations with no beginning or end. Project leader and Anangu elder Willy Kaika Burton writes in the TARNANTHI festival catalogue: “As a child I sat in a circle surrounded by my brothers, cousins, my father, uncles and grandfathers. This is how I learnt my culture. Three, four sometime five generations sit together in a circle, around a campfire. My childhood memories are alive as I take on my great-grandfather’s role today. We all have a role, according to generation and family position. Again, each role has a position in the circle, ensuring there is no beginning or end. Day changes in to night and then the morning comes again – always connected.”
With the recent threat to Indigenous communities in Western Australian, the 2015 work will be dedicated to those who have begun the fight to protect their communities from closure. Audiences will gain an insight into the relationship Anangu have with their country and how they are keeping the Anangu spirit alive through the passing on of knowledge and skills to the next generation.
Kulata Tjuta – installation and inma
Friday 9 October 2015
Two performances commencing at 7.30pm and 8.30pm (please arrive 15 minutes prior)
Government House (corner of King William Street and North Terrace)
PARTICIPATING ART CENTRES
Mimili Maku Arts