Ngala Wongga, Cultural Significance of Languages in the Goldfields

Author(s): Martine perret (Artist, Photographer, Produced by); Gary Cooper (Artist, Foreword by)

Local Area

My native language is French and I'm a photojournalistby profession. Since first visiting Australia and now living in the Margaret River region of Western Australia, I have felt a deepconnection to the landscape of this vast country. Outside ofmy work as a United Nations peacekeeping photographer,I decided to focus on more personal projects, on my artphotography.In July 2015 I decided to fly over the salt lakes of the WesternAustralian Goldfields to photograph a series called'Gungurrunga Ngawa' (Look Above), as a sequel of sortsto my earlier books and the exhibition From Above, whichcaptured aerial views of the south west region of WesternAustralia.I wanted to do more than aerial views, I wanted to tell abigger story; to draw attention to the need to preserve at riskIndigenous languages in Western Australia's Goldfields.So, I also chose to document some of the last remainingspeakers of this region, in a way that expressed theirphysical and cultural connections to their land.The project developed over 18 months, during which Idrove over 25,000km - between my home in MargaretRiver to and from the Goldfields' towns of Kalgoorlie,Norseman, Laverton and Wiluna - and spent five months,on and off, on the ground with local Indigenous Elders,gaining their trust, listening to their stories, recording andphotographing. I came to appreciate how intertwined theirlanguage is to the land and to their cultural wellbeing; and Iglimpsed the ominous impact of when a language dies out.Over that time - on the land, in the skies and on the road- my ambition grew and a wider project emerged: 'NgalaWongga' (Come Talk).The aerial photographs and the portraits came together withaudio and visual recordings, culminating in a multi-sensoryinstallation exhibition which opened on 20 September 2016at the Kalgoorlie Goldfields Arts Centre. It was the result ofmany collaborations, but most importantly with the localIndigenous speakers - who gave of themselves and toldtheir stories of land and language.

Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9780646810997
  • : martine perret
  • : martine perret
  • : December 2019
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Martine perret (Artist, Photographer, Produced by); Gary Cooper (Artist, Foreword by)
  • : Hardback