ngarinyin pathways dulwan - gwion painting in progress & paddy neowarra, ngarinyin munnumburra

ngarinyin pathways dulwan

Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan is a major multi-screen audiovisual installation that offers unprecedented insight into the art and culture of the Ngarinyin Aboriginal people of the Kimberley plateau in Australia's north-west.

An ambitious, long term-project to record and communicate the traditions, laws and knowledge of the Ngarinyin, Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan reflects the Ngarinyin elders' decision to employ screen-based media and information technologies as potent tools for the transmission and continuity of cultural identity.

Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan was produced with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission and is part of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image's Collection.

pathway project

In the traditional country of the Ngarinyin, a central language group of the Kimberley plateau in north-western Australia, the function of art to perpetuate ideas through time is powerfully evident in numerous Gwion rock paintings. With the shared aim of recording the meanings in the narratives and in the art of their country, the Pathway Project was initiated in 1992 by Ngarinyin elders Banggal and Ungudman during a visit with Jeff Doring to record cultural evidence around Alyaguma gorge. The project was later supervised by Ngarjno and Nyawarra, the current Chairman of the Ngarinyin Aboriginal Corporation.

Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan is one expression of the Pathway Project. It is a multi-screen audio-visual installation that invites the visitor into Ngarinyin country to watch, listen and learn from four Ngarinyin munnumburra - experts in traditional law, culture and art. The munnumburra reveal the durable themes that have sustained their cultural continuity for millenia, and through the disruptions and dispossession of the past century. They instigated and guided filming to record historical narratives and orations spoken by them in the presence of ancestral and living evidence on their dulwan nimindi (pathway of knowledge and law).

The munnumburra have made considerable efforts over eight years (1993-2001) to record fundamental ancestral evidence with film, audiotape and photography. The resulting archive convincingly demonstrates the durability and resilience of the ideas and ethics embodied and expressed in each of the three realms of wanjina cosmology, wunan law and gwion art.

The central image at Alyaguma gorge is the Guloi tree painting, an ancient visual metaphor for the transmission of cultural knowledge from generation to generation. The munnumburra tell us that each individual takes a pathway according to the legal framework of Wunan, to progressively accumulate experience and acquire education throughout life's journey, before the responsibility of passing knowledge on to their children.

Following the munnumburra's objective to share the ideas and meaning incorporated in this venerable rock painting, the function of this ancient image as the icon for Ngarinyin pathways of knowledge is continued in this contemporary installation exhibit, Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan.

Email us with your feedback about Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan at
Screen Gallery Opening Hours
27 June - 31 August 2003
Monday 12pm-5pm
Tuesday to Friday 10am-5pm
Saturday, Sunday & public holidays 10am-6pm
Admission Free
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