Milpirri portraits

Photographing people  was very different at Lajamanu during  Milpirri that it is in Australian cities.   Many of the  young Milpirri   wanted to have their  photos  taken,  and they often presented themselves in front of the camera. Then they would ask their friends to be part of their  performance. Often they  would direct in the sense of presenting themselves  for the camera.

From what I could see on the night  the photographers at Milpirri were non- Aboriginal people (kardiya). This was another indication that the reality of life in Lajamanu is that Warlpiri culture is being overwhelmed by a pervasive and powerful Euro-Australian culture.

2 girls at Milpirri

Warlpiri friends, Milpirri

 

Most Warlpiri feel trapped between two cultures. Young people particularly feel that engagement with the mainstream organisations that run Lajamanu requires too great a departure from their Warlpiri life, while on the other hand the culture of their elders seems increasingly irrelevant. The result is that many people are in a kind of social no-man’s land where the values of neither culture are learned deeply. In some cases the young Warlpiri  now know so little of their own culture that they do not even have the luxury of choosing which culture they want to follow.

Some of  the  older people who have belonging (yapa) now have little confidence in themselves and their own ideas that they  are afraid to speak:

 Warlpiri girl in yellow

Warlpiri girl in yellow group

Milpirri, which finds the relevance of Warlpiri culture to modern community living, says that it is okay to be Warlpiri in modernity.  It helps to highlight the essential features of being Warlpiri against the deafening background noise of mainstream Australian culture in order to help support the health of people and country.

 

 

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