Simone Labady provides the next installment from her Jawun Adventure.

8th March 2014

Continuing our induction week into the weekend, we visited a remote aboriginal community to understand more about the law and culture and the issues facing aboriginals today.  We drove to Wyndham and spent some time at Ngnowar Aerwah, an organisation that does many great things for the community. They run:

  • A women’s safe house to protect them from domestic violence
  • A sobering up shelter to help people sober up
  • A rehabilitation clinic to reform alcoholism.

Sunday 9th March 2014

More sightseeing today. 4WD tracks, swimming holes, waterfalls – gee life’s tough.

Tomorrow will be my first day at Waringarri Aboriginal Arts. I’m not nervous but anxious about whether I can add value. I’m told I will be fine so I’m relying on that.

Monday 10th March 2014

The moment I walked into the gallery, I instantly felt at home. The first person I spent some quality time with was the gallery assistant. With her warm and talkative approach, I felt I’d already made a friend. Her stories about her life lightened me inside like a warm, burning candle. This young aboriginal girl had already had so many amazing experiences it made my life feel so small. She’d been to Canberra as a result of a short modelling career, rubbed shoulders with some of Australia’s most influential people such as the former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and the Governor General, Quentin Bryce, plus, she had been really influential in gaining support from businesses around Australia to support activities for Save the Children in Kununurra. Wow! And only 23 years of age.

I simply loved the openness and honesty with which this young woman approached life. She was really refreshing to listen to.

I could have talked with her for hours but my task was to help the gallery with their administration processes and procedures. So I set about understanding more about what the art centre does and how I might be able help.

Waringarri Aboriginal Arts specializes in contemporary collectable art of the East Kimberley.

Established in the early 1980’s, in the heart of Miriwoong country, Waringarri artists share the importance of country and culture, while exploring a celebration of colour, composition and individualism.

The art centre is wholly indigenous owned and operates as an artists’ studio and gallery selling ochre paintings, limited edition prints, engraved boabs and wood carvings. The management team at Waringarri are always looking for ways to improve the business model and for additional revenues streams. As such they have been involved number of community art projects developing new artistic techniques and have diversified the product range to include clothing, accessories and stationery.

For further information, visit the Waringarri Arts website.