The Bawaka Collective: Songspirals
The Bawaka Collective is a long-term, award winning, collaborative research project between Yolŋu elders from Bawaka (NE Arnhem Land), The University of Newcastle and Macquarie University that centres Yolŋu ontologies of connection.
Professor Sarah Wright and Dr Lara Daley of the University of Newcastle, A/Prof Sandie Suchet-Pearson and A/Prof Kate Lloyd of Macquarie University and Yolŋu elders including Laklak Burarrwanga, Ritjilili Ganambarr, Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr Stubbs, Banbapuy Ganambarr and Djawundil Maymuru, will present a visual interpretation of their ongoing research, which began in 2006, alongside artworks from Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre.
The exhibition will centre around the five songspirals that feature in the collective’s latest book, Songspirals: Sharing Women’s Wisdom of Country through Songlines (Gay'wu Group of Women, 2020), and aims to extend a close collaborative relationship with Yolŋu researchers to nourish and, where appropriate, share Indigenous and Country-led understandings of women’s keening of songspirals. The project’s unique spiral-based framework intends to extend ideas of songlines to generate new knowledge which centres Yolŋu women’s conceptions of place and time. Intended outcomes are Indigenous and non-Indigenous intergenerational and intercultural applied learnings. This should provide the benefit of ensuring keening of songspirals is not lost, helping to fulfill songspirals' potential to enrich and awaken Country, and support deep, healthy relationships between people and place in the context of disruptive environmental change
Image: Noŋgirrŋa Marawili (Yirrkala NT), Lightning and the Rock, 2018. Screenprint edition 46/50, 53 x 65 cm. From the University of Newcastle Art Collection.
The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.