I was born in Marlinja (Newcastle-Water) and raised by my family. I was going in school at Elliott after my father got a job there, until I got enrolled in Kormilda College (Darwin) first and […]
I was born in Marlinja (Newcastle-Water) and raised by my family. I was going in school at Elliott after my father got a job there, until I got enrolled in Kormilda College (Darwin) first and Yirara College (Alice Springs) after. I graduated from Alice Springs High School in 1977.
I speak Jingilu-Mudburra but my tribe is Mudburra.
My first job was assistant teacher at Elliott’s school. I really enjoy the relations with the children as we were teaching both ways “English” and Mudburra. My favourite was the cultural day that happened every Wednesday when we had parents coming over at school for community engagement. There was a time when older men came to teach the boys how to dance and the ladies were showing the young girls to collect bush medicine. I was helping out our team of four assistant teachers to link the school with the elders.
In the mid 1980s, it was the establishment of the TAFE building with arts and music where men and ladies were involved. Ladies were doing canvas painting and batik. Men were also involved with painting and woodcarving. It was all about tradition, bush tuckers, artifact painting and not cultural/dreaming.
Later on, my family, my sisters and the children, moved to Barunga and stayed there for few years. I was still teaching but this time, it was with preschool, year 1-2. I really enjoy the teaching and the sharing with the families, it was all very different from my community of Elliott. The strong culture (of Arnhem Land) really inspired me.
We moved back to Elliott around 2006. The Art centre of Elliott was already opened, Gurungu Council was still operating. We were doing printing there, it was introduced by Helen Scharpebond (kariba, non-Aboriginal) who learnt from Maningrida. I was getting involved as an artist, printing traditional design, bush tuckers, bush medicine and bush animal too. The printing was made with lino square, we had our first exhibition in the cultural centre Nyinkka Nyunyu (Tennant Creek).
I was employed at Elliott Safe-House for two years where I learn few things like to be cautious with women and children safety. Family As First Teacher (FAFT), then, hired me.
When I left FAFT, I really involve myself in the art, regularly coming to the arts centre, and doing art again when Ann Marie asked me to join her to the Kulumindini Art team. I realize that I really enjoy to do that and it was the beginning of my journey.
In the future, I would like to see four things happening at the art centre. First, I wish that the ladies (artists) can come, experiment and discover new art forms and achieve to engage themselves. Secondly, I would like to plan an exhibition with the artworks done in the art centre and put them on display to Darwin to show people our art centre activity. Thirdly, I wish that we could learn new art methods, new art forms and interact with them, see what we are doing and share it to the whole community. Finally, I really want to visit other communities, learn from them, interact with them, see what they are doing and share idea.
I am personally very involved in social media, and I really want to use more social media to promote our activities, publish regularly pictures of what we are achieving every day in our art centre.
Artworks by Elaine Sandy