What a journey this has been. I have met such amazing people. It has been wonderful.
Waverley Stanley's wife Llew saw my email asking Waverley to join the project and we met almost the next day. I presented his painting to he and Llew and the Yalari yr 11 camp at Queens College in Melbourne. The kids faces lit up as they clearly love Waverley so they loved his portrait and the fact that they were all the little Bunya pines that he is planting.
Coincidences continue to drive the project - or as Den tells me the old people are watching. Like my choosing Bunya pines for Waverley's painting and it turning out to be his peoples special tree. Waverley introduced me to Uncle Moogy in Adelaide and he invited me to a corroboree. My brother Peter and I went down to Dupang on the Coorong and I was blown away by the stories of how Uncle Moogy and dance have touched and change so many lives. His energy to share and teach shows seemingly endless compassion.
I was singing jazz with Caz Mclennan and she connected me to the beautiful Veronica Barnett from Torres strait and Cape York and her wonderful weaving and art. From that meeting flowed the intro to Tiffany Garvie award winning photographer from Arnhem land. We roamed the lanes of Brunswick looking for good graffiti at sunrise.
As I was painting Veronica live in the Melbourne Museum I found myself surrounded by children from the Kimberley and people doing a Wayapa course - go figure! The teacher of the Kimberley group was Tyrone Bean, the first Aboriginal teacher at Wesley College, an activist in Australian rules footy and first Aboriginal Support person at Queens College. Jamie Marloo Thomas who runs Wayapa had been at the Dupang festival but I just missed him. Tiffany recommended him and I am now learning about Wayapa Wuurrk the Aboriginal Wellness program. Wayapa Wuurrk is going from strength to strength with more and more qualified instructors all over the country. Having lived at a Dojo in Japan, done courses with the North American Indian Shaman I am excited to find the healing arts from my own country. Seeing the Ngangkari healer from the APY lands was one of the things that got this project going.
I am just finishing Tyrone and Jamie's portraits off this weekend before I head to Adelaide to develop my painting skills with Robin Eley. The day I get back I will meet with John Patten, incredibly talented, artist, writer, playwright, manager and life long learner.
I need more women on board, so hopefully will meet the right ones soon. Please tell your friends about the project and help grow the Keys to Our Country Community.