Dreaming of Yuendumu
Yuendumu is a remote Aboriginal community located approximately 3 hours northwest of Alice Springs and is one of the largest of such communities here in Australia with a fluctuating population of nine hundred predominantly Warlpiri-speaking Aboriginal people and roughly one hundred non-Aboriginal residents. Yuendumu is internationally recognised as a prolific and important centre for the desert art movement.
These images are the result of an Australian National University research project I participated in early 2011. The project, headed by ANU researcher Melinda Hinkson, involved taking various crayon drawings to the community that were made by Walpiri men in the early 1950’s. These drawings are part of an AIATSIS collection that have remained undocumented since the 1970’s when the anthropologist Mervyn Meggit donated them. He used them in his fieldwork to try and make sense of Walpiri ceremonial knowledge.
The photos that you see here are the result of taking the Meggit drawings back to Yuendumu to find out more information about them and to capture a glimpse of contemporary everyday life at Yuendumu. Several of these images are currently on display at the National Museum of Australia as part of the exhibition Warlpiri Drawings Remembering the Future.