The Opening Celebration
The Warumungu people have celebrated the reopening of the Nyinkka Nyunyu Arts and Cultural Centre in Tennant Creek NT after closing for renovations. The official launch was kicked off with an introduction by emcee Jimmy Frank, followed by a Welcome to Country by traditional Owner Kym Brahim. The proceedings were well attended with over 200 people mainly from the local Indigenous community.
The event included a very special smoking ceremony led by Annie Morrison through the buildings, a smoking of local babies, music from Warren H Williams and traditional dance performances by both the men and women followed by a traditional meal of beef stew, kangaroo tail and damper.
The opening exhibitions included a the photographic exhibition ‘Wild Australia Show ’ a collaborative project between the University of Queensland, Australian National University, Museum Victoria, Queensland the State l Museum and the State Library of NSW.
Exciting displays of both women and men’s work were also hung especially for the open throughout the galleries. Professor Paul Memmott who has worked extensively with the Warumungu people of Tennant Creek was in attendance.
“It makes our people happy to be able to show visitors Warumungu culture and language, this place is not only for tourists but for our own people to protect and honour who we are and our country” said Jerry Kelly a local Warumungu man who works as a tour guide at Nyinkka Nyunyu.
The opening also corresponded with a major exhibition of work from the Nyinkka Nyunyu men’s art program at the RAFT Gallery in Alice Springs. The work is an exciting glimpse that represents the enthusiasm and dedication of the men’s painting group as they develop a cathartic visual language fuelled by the complexities of life in Tennant Creek.
“With the reopening of the arts and cultural centre we will be re-establishing our events and exhibitions program hoping to build up partnerships with other community organisations to work-together on various programs. The cultural precinct is a very unique facility providing great employment and training opportunities for locals in the retail area, as tour guides, and in the hospitality area with the Jajjikari Cafe. As well as being an excellent showcase for art and culture in Tennant Creek the centre is a keeping place and resource centre for historic material and archives. Our Staff are training to use the new SAM database well as developing their social media platforms including the establishment of a virtual gallery” said Centre Manager Dr Erica Izett.