CANWA logo

‘That’s magic’ - Decoding Noongar Place Names in Melville

‘That’s magic’ - Decoding Noongar Place Names in Melville
By Community Arts Network
27 September 2022

Weaving together a process driven framework with a Noongar-led community arts approach, Place Names Melville has been an incredible journey of reconciliation and Noongar language revival since its beginnings in April.

Decoding Noongar placenames is at the heart of the Place Names project. In Melville, community participants were immersed in the process, learning the decoding methodology with the collective knowledge and guidance of Len Collard, Geri Hayden and other Noongar Elders.

  • 220919 CAN CMPM D4 126 web Len Collard Hugh Sando
  • 220621 CAN CMPM 221 web Hugh Sando

Over the weeks, three areas within the City of Melville - Goolugatup, Willagee and Jenalup (Blackwall Reach) - were explored through a cultural mapping process and an interplay of mark making and collage artworks inspired by walks on country.

Led by community artists Natalie Scholtz and Sandy McKendrick, our Place Names Melville participants used ink and charcoal mark making techniques to respond to natural materials collected on country. They then developed these responses with layers of acrylic paint, pencil, thread, natural materials and additional marks. Creative expression of country was further explored through poetry led by artist Nandi Chinna. Transpiring into a series of abstract artworks capturing the essence of these places - a magnificent reflection of the community’s strong connection to boodjar.

  • 220808 CAN CMPM D2 64 web
  • 220816 CAN CMPM D3 25 web

Participants also recorded natural soundscapes and sensory videos at each site under the guidance of Hugh Sando. When displayed together, the seamless connection between video footage and collage works was profound, sparking a common remark among the community of participants - ‘that’s magic’.

Place Names Melville will culminate in an exhibition of artworks created by the project’s participants, responding to and celebrating these places and their traditional Aboriginal names.

  • 220919 CAN CMPM D4 81 web Hugh Sando
  • 220919 CAN CMPM D4 100 web Hugh Sando
  • 220919 CAN CMPM D4 129 web Hugh Sando

CAN Perth Head Office

Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm

PO Box 7514 Cloisters Square WA 6850

King Street Arts Centre
Ground Floor 357-365 Murray St
Perth WA 6000

08 9226 2422

ABN: 72106364407

Connect with CAN