Working through FORM’s Creative School’s program I teamed up students at Rockingham’s SMYL Malayin Maya Campus for a semester at the end of 2022.
As a group we explored the curriculum topics of Language and Leadership: specifically Noongar Language and Yokas (First Nations Women Leaders) from Western Australia. Student’s learnt about Noongar resistance fighter Fanny Balbuk (1840-1877) , Noongar postmistress and telegraphist Mary Ellen Cuper/ Pangieran (1847-1877), Activist Barbara Jackson (1909-1976) and key figure in the Pilbara Pastoral Workers’ Strike of 1946, Martu women Daisy Bindi (1904-1962).
Students also looked at various Australian First Nations contemporary visual artists including Brook Andrews, Reko Rennie, Lena Nyadbi, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Ryan Presley. They considered musicians such as William Barton, Flwent and Mojo JuJu. They focused on activists past and present Fanny Balbuk and Marcia Langton and actors of the 2017 Australia Day Lamb advert.
For students, exposure to these individuals has demonstrated a myriad of ways that First Nation Australians continue to use creativity as a tool to protest against injustices and defy establishments.
Focusing specifically on Western Australian Yoks meant these students not only learn their own history and also used the Now I Own exhibition at the conclusion of the program to invite a broader audience to engage with courage, contributions and achievements of these inspiring women leaders
The works on cardboard also invite viewers to engage with Noongar language, terms and symbols.
Photos below are of the sessions and Now I Own Exhibition that was held at Art Sources Custom House.
To hear from student Kezia as she summarises the project here
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