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  3. Ngarranggarni: Gija Art and Country

Ngarranggarni: Gija Art and Country (CUMC90034)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5Off Campus

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeCUMC90034
Availability(Quotas apply)
July - Off Campus
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This on-country subject takes place at Warmun Art Centre and on surrounding Gija land in the East Kimberley, Western Australia. It is taught by senior Gija knowledge holders as part of a collaborative two-way learning partnership with University of Melbourne cultural materials conservation staff. Gija lecturers will introduce students to the concept of Ngarranggarni; an expansive and complex one that defies simple definition or translation. The Ngarranggarni is also a framework that continues to encode, nourish and maintain Gija law and conceptions of social organisation, trade and exchange, kinship relations and family ties, custodianship of country and the practice of song, dance, spirituality, art, language and philosophy.

These big concepts are explored through song, dance, language, mungari (food) and the preparation and use of artistic materials, such as ochre, garliwoony (tree sap) and wood for carving.

In introducing Ngarranggarni the fundamental link between Gija culture, language, country and artistic expression is emphasised. Its specific relevance to ethical and technical decision making regarding the conservation, storage, exhibition and use of Gija cultural material is reinforced through discussion and practical sessions in which the source, location, physical characteristics and production methods of the ochres and binders used in Warmun artworks and their associated stories are studied.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • have gained an understanding and deep appreciation of Gija knowledge systems;
  • reflect on how cultural understanding informs conservation ethical practice; and
  • have gained an informed understanding of how to embed two-way knowledge and shared decision making frameworks into their professional practice.

Generic skills

Student who successfully complete this subject should:

  • develop an appreciation of Gija knowledge as a demonstration of Australian Aboriginal knowledge. By learning from Gija elders and artists they will gain an understanding of the importance of country and the ways that cultural and artistic knowledge and techniques are informed by and reflect country; and
  • increase their reflective thinking skills and ability to articulate complex concepts through two-way knowledge sharing modes.

Last updated: 3 April 2019