Creative technologists from Sydney design house Curiious have been in close consultation with the East Pilbara-based Martu Artists for many months to ensure a true and culturally appropriate rendering of their work is being showcased.
Creative lead for the project, Frederic Simard, says that the original painting by the Martumili artists – an artist collective that was established by Martu people living in the communities of Parnpajinya (Newman), Jigalong, Parnngurr, Punmu, Kunawarritji, Irrungadji and Warralong – was a hybrid of both modern and ancestral knowledge, which allowed a certain freedom in being able to interpret the work for a wider audience.
“(Our interpretation of the artworks) meant that we were able to be comfortable in exploring subjects without trying to go into Songlines that cannot be told by strangers,” Simard explains.
The animation team saw their work as a chance to bring to life the stories underneath the painting.
“Bringing Yarrkalpa to life on the Opera House sails for us is the ultimate tribute to the Martu Artists. The surface of the Sydney Opera House sails will be used as a portal into the detail of the artwork, allowing us to give life to the narrative hidden within while offering a new perspective on their art for audiences to discover and feel the deep connections the Martu have with Country. It is a humbling reminder that we all have an essential role to play in preserving our ecosystems.”
The animation team were not only inspired by the themes of caring for Country explored in Yarrkalpa, but by the collaborative and inclusive nature of the Martu culture itself.
“The Martu like to work with and involve a younger generation. So that was the same idea with our process. We were inspired by them and decided to bring on board some younger animators and an animator from the Aboriginal program at UTS. We had a team of about ten different animators, and then got their ideas and input into how we could bring the artwork to life,” Simard explains.