During the performances audiences are softly invited into the Pitjantjatjara

During the performances audiences are softly invited

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During the performances audiences are softly invited into the Pitjantjatjara speaking domains. People are addressed in Pitjantjatjara , taught songs including ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’, standing up to join with the actions, helping to symbolize the project’s aspirations for Piranpa participation in language maintenance. As a consequence, the language used in the production work was highly evocative, in part because it was ‘authentic’, in part because it contrasts enormously with the language and conceptual ideas normally available to audiences. This style of working is reminiscent of the tradition inspired by the work of Paulo Freire (1972) who advocated that this kind of language work must begin by ‘educators’ bracketing their often reductive conceptual devices, spending time noting the language forms of a community. Element four: ‘ walytja’ - local ( An angu ) family relationships are at the core of community development work From its outset this project was motivated by the desire to encourage young people to better understand their history and language by bringing them into more contact with ‘ walytja’ . One senior woman put it this way, “ Walytja (family) is like, grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, big brother, big sister. I think of it like this: If we work together, stand together we are family. You and all of us are together, all of you are our family. Palya .” From its inception the project took seriously the need to find ways to encourage contact across the generations and build opportunities to 25
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reconnect young people with local social systems and family networks. Senior people took on important roles in overseeing storytelling, offering accounts of what it was like to grow up in earlier times. Often young people who used cameras and operated sound equipment recorded this. The contact between different age groups was not one way. For example, a number of the younger musicians played instruments on other’s sound tracks, sometimes also supporting the music recording of older people’s songs. The various stage shows themselves provided one of the most significant intergenerational opportunities with senior people, middle aged people, young people and children literally working side-by-side in the lead-up, during and after the performance. There were a number of other ways the project continued with a theme of working across the generations. Young people worked with visiting artists (both An angu and non- An angu ) who ranged in age and experience. They consistently worked with people outside of the conventional teacher/student or child/adult relationship in workshops, creating props, and in the community performance itself. One might say that the ‘memory basket’, acts as a legacy for those generations that follow behind, offering a symbolic gift to future generations from senior An angu , project participants and Big hART workers.
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