New Works


Volunteering at Martumili Artists

My experience at Martumili has been short but oh so rich! To be grounded in a community, to learn something every day about myself and the environment around me whilst meeting and getting to know so many wonderful people, I feel very lucky!

As someone with a public design background, art centres are sources of inspiration. Starting volunteering, however, I didnt know what to expect. I knew I was to be helping with not just art but with various facets of the organization that fed into the art, but I had no idea how.

Martumili like most art centres, doubles as a community hub and safe space, dedicated to Martu well– being and self-determination. A place where Martu culture takes a front seat and can be monetized ethically and safely. A cross cultural environment, where Martu and nonMartu, artists and staff, work together to facilitate the production of beautiful artworks that tell stories big and small. This facilitation can be as direct as a picking paint palette (if requested!) or it can be as broad as cooking a healthy lunch for the artists.

Upon my arrival, I blindly offered my help as much as I could, working in the background to help things run smoothly. I discovered however, this was not the sole attribute to my role, and one was to be more conscious of how the space was engaged with. Supporting the artists was about allowing space for everyone to grow and make mistakes, not just preventing them. It was a reminder that ‘care‘ is a two-way street and we were all learning and growing together. The word marlpa’ was made apparent to me in week three by Amyit means doing things together, on a journey together. In the chaos of the hot days, sometimes it was a challenge to remain present and have boundaries and thinking of ‘marlpa was a grounding mantra that carried me through.

Its been such a pleasure to observe not just the art being made but interactions between artists and workersan ecosystem of knowledge exchange, building trust and selfawareness. I was here to learn and listen, and many of the artists are here to teach, talk of ninti or just razz you! Though sometimes, I was honoured enough to be asked for art advice, or just help activate a simcard, in exchange for correcting my wangka pronunciation to much of their amusement.

Further, no matter how busy the day, bringing an oversized tea and a stack of eight biscuits to the older artists will never fail to bring me at least a bit of joy.

I feel grateful to have had this experience, to have met so many strong and funny wantis and staff and be part of this incredible story, even if it is just for one month. If Martumili‘s larger narrative is to be Martu led one day, I would be honoured to come back to continue my learning, and be a conduit in that story.

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Martumili Artists warns visitors that our website includes images and artworks of Artists who have passed away which may cause distress to some Indigenous people.

Martumili Artists acknowledges the Nyiyaparli and Martu people as the Traditional Owners of the land we live and work on. We also acknowledge the Traditional Owners throughout our country and our Elders; past, present and emerging.