Wiṟuṟa kanyini, meaning ‘well looked after’, is a video work in three parts by artist Robert Fielding that explores the storylines of past, present and future Mimili Community, which is located in the remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia.
(marking the earth with a bent stick or wire to tell a story)
Stories are eternal. They are held onto, or given away, for a moment only, but they are eternally present in song, dance, language, place, earth, spirit. While we see, we hear, we feel, we touch, we smell, the roots of our stories go deeper than us, eternally held within the earth.
From the earth we come and to the earth we return. Our stories are held within the earth, our fates intertwined. Change in the earth becomes change in our lives, in our cultures. Stop and listen, appreciating the unknown stories that travel throughout the land.
(becoming related to something)
What does it mean to be part of a place, of Country, of community? How do gravity and time bind us to the stories of our ancestors, to our culture? While culture and Country may change, who we are remains the same; our stories keep running through our veins, educating each other.
Western Arrernte, Central Desert region, Yankunytjatjara, Mimili, Southern Desert region, Pakistani/Afghan heritage
from the series Wiṟuṟa kanyini
single-channel digital video
An Art Gallery of New South Wales Together In Art New Work 2020 © Robert Fielding
Supported by Vicki Olsson
Much of Robert Fielding’s work relates to his strong cultural roots, framed by a contemporary perspective on the tensions between community life and greater global concerns. The devastating impacts of colonisation, from the Stolen Generations to the physical destruction of Country, is often implied in his practice. By linking the personal and physical changes felt by Aṉangu and his sentient ancestral homelands, Fielding articulates a unique connection between his people and the earth, exploring what it means as an Aboriginal person to hold millennia of knowledge within, of becoming part of Country.
Produced in collaboration with Tuppy Goodwin, Ngilan Dodd and Partimah Fielding, Milpatjunanyi, Manta and Walytjaringanyi were created for Together In Art to explore life in Mimili Community. They describe what life was like before the land rights of the traditional owners were recognised by government – when it was known only as Everard Park cattle station – and the ways Aṉangu have adapted their relationship with Country as their home has changed.
Fielding has responded to conversations he has had with community Elders about these changes to Country over the last 70 years. He draws on extensive archival research and focuses on the earth to celebrate the many ways we share and hold stories of a place, and the ways through which art can bring us together.