Batchelor Institute » Antarrengeny Awely: Alyawarr Women’s Songs from Antarrengeny
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Antarrengeny Awely: Alyawarr Women’s Songs from Antarrengeny


A launch to celebrate Antarrengeny Awely: Alyawarr Women’s Songs from Antarrengeny will be held at Arnkawenyerr (Rocket Range homeland) on Wednesday 28th August 2013 at 11am.

This day is also the celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the Arlparra Learning Centre, at Arlparra, Utopia. Batchelor Institute offers a BBQ and a display of its 10 years at Arlparra at the Learning Centre from 1pm on Wednesday 28th.

Antarrengeny Awely is a book, CD and DVD of women’s songs that belong to the Antarrengeny people from the Utopia region of Central Australia. Senior custodians Mary Kemarr and Katie Kemarr explain the meanings and significance of their songs with assistance from other family members. The songs tell the stories of both everyday and important events, including the travels of ancestral women, the plants of the area, and events during a site documentation with the Central Land Council.

The recordings feature performances by many Alyawarr women including Mary Kemarr Morton, Kathleen Kemarr Morton, Queenie Kemarr Lion, Lena Pwerl, Lena Ngal Skinner, Rosie Kngwarray Kunoth, Jeanie Pwerl Mills, Kathleen Kemarr Purvis, Lucky Kngwarray Morton, Audrey Kngwarray Morton, Sarah Kngwarray Morton, Lily Kngwarray Lion, Dorothy Kemarr Kunoth, Pansy Petyarr MacLeod, Rosie Pwerl, Amelia Kemarr, Nora Kemarr Moore and Polly Ngal.

The book includes the words and rhythm of the songs, explanations by senior custodians and images of the topics of the songs, all interwoven with archival photos and recordings. The book comes with an audio CD and a DVD, and is produced with the new technology of sound printing, which enables the reader to play song files from a reader which responds to codes embedded in the book’s pages. The transcriptions and translations were done by Myfany Turpin and Alison Ross with assistance from Jenny Green and David Moore. The publication demonstrates the holistic nature of Aboriginal art, as song, dance and design are intertwined in performance.

The book came about through a collaborative effort. Katie and Mary Morton are part of a group of women who have a long-standing relationship with Batchelor Institute. Through their language and art studies this group has successfully melded their arts practice with efforts to document language and culture in the areas of bush medicine and other cultural themes. The group have performed awely many times during workshops at the Arlparra Study Centre and on trips to country, with Mary and Katie leading the women and teaching younger family members. Awely is expressed as a key theme through Mary and Katie’s visual arts production, through direct representations of body designs on canvas, batik and in prints. They also depict the animals and plants that are the dreamings for Antarrengeny country, such as apeng ‘desert kurrajong’.

This project has been supported by the Australian Government’s Indigenous Languages Support Program, and auspiced by Batchelor Institute’s Division of Research, Teaching and Learning. Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education has supported many projects and learning over the past 10 years and it is a happy coincidence that the events of the launch of Antarrengeny Awely and the anniversary of the Learning Centre opening can be celebrated in unison.

For more information about the launch contact Margaret Carew.