CYRIL CAMPBELL FROM AUSTRALIA
From North Stradbroke Island: Nunukul mob from Minjerribah, the Jandiwal Nation of the Quandamooka region
Connecting back to Country and Nature with its seasonal changes is my main thematic force in works I complete in sculpture and painting. These themes guide my artworks, music and educational activities and stem from my cultural background as a descendant of the Jandiwal Nation. There is a great hunger for the cultural experiences that I am blessed to share, and workshops in the community and schools have been very successful and are a great way to share such knowledge through song and dance. Art is vital to preserving connection to Country and keeping stories alive. I have been part of a generation re-gathering stories and songlines that were almost lost by colonial suppression and now it’s coming back strong within our region through the jarjums (children) learning their stories through corroborree (kunjeil) and painting (millamilla).
Merrigimpba Nunukul, Minjerribah is my traditional name meaning the sea eagle. I like to use song and dance, or kunjeil, as a medium for creating paintings through the story of the songlines from the Quandamooka region. These stories and songlines relate mostly to seasonal change and sustaining food resources. For example the dance of Merrigimpba the sea eagle, lets us know when the fishing season is to commence and that by letting the pilot fish pass closely to shore, our tribe can harvest from the remaining school passing that always follow the pilot fish. If the pilot fish are caught first, the rest of the school will leave to deep water and result in no catch. This is just one of the many stories which guide our artworks and song/dance. I believe that creating these artworks is an important way of keeping the stories and songlines alive and also engages the wider community in an ancient wisdom.
I find cultural exchange an amazing way to connect and cross cultures. It strengthens cultural ties and empowers indigenous nations through the process of sharing which equates to healing.