Over the past 35 years CAN has been building relationships that create opportunities for people to determine for themselves what stories best express the diversity of experience, aspiration and imagination alive in Western Australians.
In 2013, CAN worked with Newmont Boddington Gold and Sodexo to deliver a community and public art project that would represent the local Noongar culture, create cultural dialogue and enhance the Newmont Boddington Gold site.
Noongar artists Lance Chadd and Donna Beach worked with community members and mine workers to prepare, design, paint and carve six wooden poles. Installed throughout the landscape at the mine site, the Noongar Boddington Poles formed a bold, bright and engaging art piece that represent the Noongar seasons, in both Noongar and English, and feature the flora and fauna of the area.
The Noongar Boddington Poles were well received and the project created strong cultural dialogue between Newmont Boddington Gold, Sodexo and the community.
In 2013, CAN worked with Quairading District High School to celebrate its centenary through a series of animated short films that told stories from its history. After engaging the wider community to share their stories, students brought them to life with animation artist Steven Aiton.
The animations portrayed Noongar Dreamtime stories, experiences of students throughout the school’s 100-year history, and the moving and historical account of local Noongar Elder John Kickett, whose efforts helped end segregated education in Western Australia.
The process of gathering and animating these stories strengthened the relationship between local Elders and the school. In turn, students learned the depth of their town’s history, acquiring a real sense of how important these stories are to their community.
The project also gave students and teachers new digital animation skills, enabling them to use the iPads, digital cameras, light boxes and other technology already available at the school with more versatility.
In 2012, an interpretive walking trail in Perth’s Banksia Grove was developed for the Mungitj Eco-Art Bushland Trail project. Weaving along Botanic Avenue in Banksia Grove’s Discovery Park bushland, the trail features signage and artwork that acknowledges the customs and practices of the land’s traditional custodians – the Noongar People.
Artist Darren Hutchens worked with traditional owners, local artists and students from Neerabup Primary School to make the project a success. Through generously sharing their knowledge and talents, these project participants created a trail that celebrates Aboriginal culture and educates the wider community on how the bush was traditionally used by the Noongar people.
The Mungitj Eco-Art Bushland Trail project was a community art and education collaboration between CAN, Banksia Grove Development and Relationships Australia.
Noongar Voices of the Central Eastern Wheatbelt was a three-part radio documentary series that shared the life stories of a group of people from the Central Eastern Wheatbelt. Airing on ABC Radio National in 2010, the project expanded on the Voices of the Wheatbelt project moving beyond photography into audio-documentary making. The series was focused on extracts from oral history interviews conducted by Mary Anne Jebb and Bill Bunbury.
As well as assisting Noongar people from the Wheatbelt to record their life stories, the project provided opportunities for the broader community to gain an insight into Noongar life in the Wheatbelt. The series was focused on extracts from oral history interviews conducted by Mary Anne Jebb and Bill Bunbury. As well as assisting Noongar people from the Wheatbelt to record their life stories, the project provided opportunities for the broader community to gain an insight into Noongar life in the Wheatbelt.
The history of Noongar doll making goes back to when Elders recall improvised making and play while living on reserves and on country. Eclectic materials such as bush nuts, pegs and sauce bottles were refashioned to create unique dolls, fuelling the imagination and joy of Noongar children.
In 2010, CAN brought Nalda Searles and Cecile Williams to Narrogin and in doing so, brought back to life a growing tradition among Narrogin and Pingelly Noongar families.
Noongar dolls have become significant storytellers within the community as each handcrafted piece encapsulates a part of its creator, and in bringing this art form back to life for themselves and their children, each doll maker is capturing their history and creating their own tradition. Whether it depicts a traditional story, defines ‘freedom’ as taking your shoes off at the end of a hard day, or tells the strength of grandmothers, sisters, fathers, or self, a personal story is captured at heart of each doll and no two are the same.
Rock Hole Long Pipe was a community theatre production project, staged in Coolgardie in 2008, that told ancient and traditional stories of water from the Goldfields.
Involving a broad cross-section of the Coolgardie and Kambalda communities, the performance was created by students from both locations in a series of workshops run by animator Steve Aiton and community artist Poppy van Oorde-Grainger. The culminating performance was a vibrant, thrilling parade that weaved through the back streets of Coolgardie to the town’s central park.
The Rock Hole Long Pipe project involved actors, musicians, a procession of over 100 students, poets, bikies and the local volunteer fire brigade.
The 70th anniversary of the UDHR was an opportunity to commemorate, celebrate and critique this fundamental framework of freedom and equality for all humanity. CAN partnered with the Museum of Freedom and Tolerance and worked with Youth Leaders at Edmund Rice Centre WA to run workshops that examined the UDHR, what the rights are, how they affect us and what their relevance is to young people. With artists, the young people explored how to represent the 30 articles of human rights through photography and art, transforming the 70 year old document into a contemporary creative booklet and poster series. These were brought to life through the augmented reality app eVista then screened on the Yagan Square Tower across Human Rights Week.