Archive for April, 2009

Touching base in Geraldton

April 24, 2009

Katherine Moroz (Yamatji Arts), Wayne McDonald (Mid West Development Corporation), Priscilla Clayton (CSIRO) and Steven Tingay got together in Geraldton in April to discuss the next stage for the project and planning for the exhibition launch in June.

Below, see a piece from the Geraldton Guardian (April 24), where ilgarijiri gets a mention in the last couple of paragraphs.

Piece from Geraldton Guardian (April 24, 2009)

Piece from Geraldton Guardian (April 24, 2009)

Artists and astronomers visit Mullewa and Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory

April 19, 2009

In March 2009, the first step in this project got underway. Indigenous artists and staff from the Y-ART cooperative in Geraldton got together with astronomers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) for a visit to the town of Mullewa (an hour drive east of Geraldton) and the Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory (MRO) at Boolardy Station (3 hours drive north of Mullewa). The group were accompanied by a TV film crew from the ABC Indigenous Programs Unit, preparing material for an episode of the ABC program “Message Stick”. I’ll notify the blog when I know the date that the Message Stick episode will screen.

In Mullewa the group enjoyed an evening BBQ followed by observing on the town oval using small telescopes and binoculars. The group viewed Saturn (rings almost edge-on), star clusters, nebulae (including the Orion nebula), double stars and the constellations. The town community got involved and lots of the town kids got a chance to get involved with the telescopes. Lots of photos on Mr Jeff Hodgson’s facebook album page. Also, Dr Megan Argo’s picassa page.

Mullewa kids participating in the astronomy evening on the town oval (image credit: Dr Megan Argo)

Mullewa kids participating in the astronomy evening on the town oval (image credit: Dr Megan Argo)

Mullewa kids trying out the telescopes

Mullewa kids trying out the telescopes (image credit: Prof. Steven Tingay)

The following morning the group got an early start and hit the road to Boolardy Station. We arrived at the Station for lunch and a break, before heading out to the centre of the MRO, to walk over country and take a tour of the MWA site.

Taking a break for lunch at Boolardy Station

Taking a break for lunch at Boolardy Station (image credit: Mr Jeff Hodgson)

Tedo Ryan and Steven Tingay, walking over country at the MRO.

Tedo Ryan and Steven Tingay, walking over country at the MRO (image credit: Dr Megan Argo)

Taking a tour of the MWA telescope at the MRO

Taking a tour of the MWA telescope at the MRO (image credit: Dr Megan Argo)

After our visit to the MRO, the group headed back to the Station, for a break before dinner. At sunset, the artists started to scope out some exploratory pieces, capturing their impressions of the day, the country and the discussions.

Artists scoping out exploratory pieces back at the homestead (image credit: Prof. Steven Tingay)

Artists scoping out exploratory pieces back at the homestead (image credit: Prof. Steven Tingay)

Artists scoping out pieces (image credit: Prof. Steven Tingay)

Artists scoping out pieces (image credit: Prof. Steven Tingay)

After dinner, the group set the campfire and had an evening of sharing stories under the gloriously dark skies of Boolardy Station. We talked about the different interpretations of the night sky and the significance of different star patterns and constellations in indigenous and non-indigenous traditions.

Sunset at Boolardy Station, before setting the campfire (image credit: Dr Megan Argo)

Sunset at Boolardy Station, before setting the campfire (image credit: Dr Megan Argo)

Around the campfire, under the stars, sharing stories about the night sky (image credit: Dr Megan Argo)

Around the campfire, under the stars, sharing stories about the night sky (image credit: Dr Megan Argo)

The following morning we packed up camp and headed back to Geraldton and Perth.

The next step in the project is for the artists to complete their artworks, ready for an exhibition titled “Ilgarijiri – things belonging to the sky”, that will open at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery on Friday June 12, 2009. Following Geraldton, the exhibition will be shown in Perth in September 2009, at a location to be announced soon. I will notify the blog when the location is known. It is also hoped that the exhibition will show in an east coast location near the end of 2009 or the beginning of 2010.

The exhibition will also be available as a “virtual gallery”. The site is currently under development and the blog will be advised of the URL when it is available.

Welcome to “Ilgarijiri – things belonging to the sky”

April 18, 2009

Ilgarijiri means “things belonging to the sky” in the Wajarri Yamatji language. The Wajarri Yamatji indigenous people of the Murchison region of Western Australia are Native Title claimants over the region including the Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory (MRO), a site being developed as the potential location for the next generation of large radio telescope – the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), as well as SKA precursor telescopes such as the CSIRO Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) and the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA).

This blog has nothing to do with the Wajarri Yamatji Native Title claim process.

This blog is focussed on a collaborative project between indigenous artists associated with the Wajarri Yamatji region, via the Y-ART cooperative in Geraldton, and radio astronomers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), based in Perth, Western Australia. The project brings together indigenous artists and scientists to exchange an celebrate different perspectives about the night sky and to explore those perspectives in art.

This activity will run during 2009, the International Year of Astronomy. Future entries in this blog will describe the various stages of the project, contributed by the people involved in the project.

Many thanks to the people and groups supporting this collaboration: Wajarri Yamatji Native Title Claim Group (for allowing access to country), CSIRO (for allowing access to the MRO), Y-ART in Geraldton (for local organisation), ICRAR (for funding the activity), the artists, and Mark and Carolyn Halleen (Boolardy Station managers, for their hospitality).

Prof. Steven Tingay, Deputy Director (ICRAR)