Basil Hall

Paruku, Desert Lake

Blog 10 The Paruku Project 4-22 August 2011

Blog 10 The Paruku Project Thursday we had our wrap up day with the community and it started with more painting at the archaeology site for the men.

Guy took our visitors to see some of the horse damage and also the huge colony of brolgas feeding at the south end of the lake. He then had a meeting with some of the local people to find out what plans were in place to deal with the horses.

Kim and the visitors then went to the school for more work on the mapping project with the older kids while all hands were on deck finishing artwork and acetates at the art centre.

Events were held up for quite a while in early afternoon by a brown snake crawling into the underbody of the Store manager’s vehicle, bringing everyone to standstill while suggestions were made about how to get the snake out. The snake after a dosing with the hose wasn’t budging but eventually dropped out and was dispatched of course!

Warruyanta Art Centre, Mandy finishing studies, David taylor downloading film and photos, John Carty and Bill Fox cataloging artworks. Photo David Leece

Preparing for show and tell, Mandy finishing studies, David Taylor downloading photos, John and Bill finishing exhibition spreadsheet and catalogue of works. Photo David Leece

The afternoon concluded with the beautiful Pelican Dreaming Dance lead by Hanson Pye, Bill and Bessie Doonday and Chamia Samuels singing the narrative with a microphone. It was a stunning and wonderful way to finish our working trip to Paruku. Everyone then processed around the art centre and gymnasium to look at the art work. There were warm farewells and promises to return for a final week’s work in April when all the art works and ranger work is more evolved.

A mad wrapping session then happened so that we could take as many finished works as possible to show to curators and for safe keeping for exhibitions. I have never had such a highly qualified team of art wrappers, for which I was really grateful. This was followed the following morning by a mad packing session as we left camp and started our long respective trips home.

Paruku, Desert Lake

Blog 10 The Paruku Project 4-22 August 2011

Blog 10 The Paruku Project Thursday we had our wrap up day with the community and it started with more painting at the archaeology site for the men.

Guy took our visitors to see some of the horse damage and also the huge colony of brolgas feeding at the south end of the lake. He then had a meeting with some of the local people to find out what plans were in place to deal with the horses.

Kim and the visitors then went to the school for more work on the mapping project with the older kids while all hands were on deck finishing artwork and acetates at the art centre.

Events were held up for quite a while in early afternoon by a brown snake crawling into the underbody of the Store manager’s vehicle, bringing everyone to standstill while suggestions were made about how to get the snake out. The snake after a dosing with the hose wasn’t budging but eventually dropped out and was dispatched of course!

Warruyanta Art Centre, Mandy finishing studies, David taylor downloading film and photos, John Carty and Bill Fox cataloging artworks. Photo David Leece

Preparing for show and tell, Mandy finishing studies, David Taylor downloading photos, John and Bill finishing exhibition spreadsheet and catalogue of works. Photo David Leece

The afternoon concluded with the beautiful Pelican Dreaming Dance lead by Hanson Pye, Bill and Bessie Doonday and Chamia Samuels singing the narrative with a microphone. It was a stunning and wonderful way to finish our working trip to Paruku. Everyone then processed around the art centre and gymnasium to look at the art work. There were warm farewells and promises to return for a final week’s work in April when all the art works and ranger work is more evolved.

A mad wrapping session then happened so that we could take as many finished works as possible to show to curators and for safe keeping for exhibitions. I have never had such a highly qualified team of art wrappers, for which I was really grateful. This was followed the following morning by a mad packing session as we left camp and started our long respective trips home.

Paruku, Desert Lake

Blog 8 The Paruku Project 4-22 August 2011

Blog 8 The Paruku Project Sunday was a big expedition to drive around Paruku and a vehicle headed off soon after breakfast and arrived back by dusk, Bill Fox had his poet’s hat on that day especially as he contemplated circumnavigation. Guy wanted to see where most of the cattle were and get an idea of horse numbers. David Leece and I battled with the tricky wind which seems to spiral around the lake , arriving every half hour or so and whipping all our canvases and paints up in the air. Hansen was not the least bit surprised about this, the handover site has a spiral wind dreaming, it seems.

All the art team were on deck early helping on the Tuesday morning to speed Basil through finishing the burgeoning number of print acetates and also to assist Basil print “Desert Lake, The Paruku Project” logo onto100 orange bandanas which David Leece had bought on ebay.  David then set the ink by ironing them, despite the growing heat!

David Leece tying bandanas on weavers. Photo Mandy Martin

On Tuesday afternoon the last of our party arrived, (also project donors), they had flown to Broome, then hired a vehicle and driven out through Fitzroy Crossing and Hall’s Creek. They arrived with lots of fresh lettuces and tomatoes and other supplies so were welcome in every way! After briefly showing our visitors the artwork in progress at the art centre, we took them out to the Handover site to settle them into camp.

The Traditional Owners once again arrived and we had tea under the bough shelter and then promenaded to the lake where the Friday and Tuesday arrivals were welcomed to Country.

Hansen Pye and Chamia ran the ceremonies and we were humbled and happy to be given skin names. This caused much discussion and at times laughter as names were chosen for us and we stood to repeat and accept them. Once again Gill closed the ceremony by giving everyone orange bandanas!

Paruku, Desert Lake

Blog 7 The Paruku Project 4-22 August 2011

Blog 7 The Paruku Project Friday was another big day, much anticipated because some new comers to our group were rendezvousing in Alice Springs to fly to Mulan. David Taylor had returned from Spain to his own Cessna, parked while he was away, in Alice Springs and he had to find John Carty from Canberra and Basil Hall from Darwin. Basil, not knowing John, had the brainwave of buying a cheap pad and pen from the newsagent and standing at the arrivals door with a note paging John Carty.. a big moment in John’s life… we were much relieved to see their plane arrive on the dirt strip, within 5 minutes of David Taylor’s ETA that afternoon, with everyone on board.

Being a slave driver, everyone responded to my call to work on the weekend including the Warruyanta artists who had all agreed to come in to work with Basil making acetates, some from their canvases, completed during the week for a large and exciting print project.

John Carty also threw himself straight into work, recording oral histories and stories arising from the history paintings and generally cataloguing and curating the art collection with Bill Fox as it grew over the following week.

Having John and Basil at the art centre gave David Leece and me more time to focus on our own painting which had been suffering due to the heavy program, so we were able to spend longer uninterrupted hours painting in locations near the lake. Hanson Pye and the rangers dropped by the camp regularly to see the works progressing and we also took the canvases into the art centre a few times so everyone could see how we were tackling their Country. Hanson named my 5 works “Falling Star” after the place on the lake, where all the dead trees point straight up after the star fell into the middle of the lake. We have agreed to swap a painting with each other next year, he was very taken with mine and wanted to hang one of the 5 panel studies on his wall at home he said.