Honoring the Lost: Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation Receives Commemorative Art

Honoring the Lost: Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation Receives Commemorative Art

The Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation recently received a poignant art piece depicting the sacred Juukan Gorge site, four years after its tragic destruction by Rio Tinto. This powerful artwork, created by artist Owen Parry, vividly captures the Juukan Gorge in its pristine state before the devastation, highlighting the profound consequences on the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) people and humanity as a whole. Honoring the Lost: Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation Receives Commemorative Art

Honoring the Lost: Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation Receives Commemorative Art

A Visual Reminder of Loss and Resilience

The artwork will be prominently displayed at the Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation office, serving as a visual reminder of the sacred site that the PKKP people have lost. Burchelle Hayes, Chairman of the Foundation, expressed deep appreciation for the piece. “It’s a great piece of work that Owen has committed to, it’s been a long time coming as well,” said Mr. Hayes. He emphasized the importance of going through the right approval process and acknowledged the excellence of Owen’s public artwork.

“From the destruction of Juukan Gorge, it certainly has had an impact not only on the Puutu Kunti Kurrama but also on the wider community as well,” he added.

Honoring the Lost: Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation Receives Commemorative Art

Inspired by Legacy and Culture

Owen Parry’s creation was inspired by a photograph of the original Juukan Gorge, for which he obtained permission from the PKKP community. He used metal to sculpt the terrain of the region and inscribed the names of Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura on the edge of the canvas. This approach transformed a flat 2D photograph into a 3D masterpiece, evoking a deeper emotional response.

“This is another version of just having another photograph and that’s all they have, of course, and this takes it to a 3D level,” Parry explained. “It inspires a lot more feeling rather than a flat 2D photograph and hopefully people can get a bit more reference and resemblance to what it used to look like.”

A Profound Sense of Loss

For Parry, presenting the display to Mr. Hayes held deep spiritual significance. He experienced a profound sense of loss for the Elders while creating the piece. “It was a case of reinventing and recreating that very meaningful place to the custodial group. It was something I felt a bit of heart putting into it and to get it out is a bit satisfying,” he shared.

The Legacy of Juukan Gorge

The Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation was established in response to Rio Tinto’s destruction of a cave used by Indigenous people for at least 40,000 years, retaining strong cultural significance. The destruction was approved under the controversial section 18 of Western Australia’s Aboriginal Heritage Act of 1972. This act was subsequently replaced by a new law, which was then rescinded after backlash, leading to the reinstatement of an amended version of the 1972 Act.

The United Nations recently expressed concerns about the current WA Aboriginal heritage protection system, arguing it may breach the prohibition of racial discrimination and Indigenous people’s rights under international law.

Looking Forward with Determination

Mr. Hayes emphasized the Foundation’s commitment to turning a devastating event into a positive legacy. “We want to make it a positive legacy created from the devastating event on our country. The Puutu Kunti Kurrama people will never heal from that destruction; it’s like that forever, and we want to make sure that never happens again,” he stated.

“We are tirelessly working with mining opponents, including Rio Tinto, so that we can have a greater understanding of what impact mining will have on our country. But giving us, the Traditional Owners, the level of comfort that we and our sites will be preserved and protected.”

“We are not opposed to mining; we have publicly said that. We just want to make sure not only do we have a seat at the table, but that we have a voice around that table to speak our minds. And when we say no, a no is a no for us.

The commemorative art piece at the Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation stands as a testament to the resilience and enduring spirit of the PKKP people. It serves as a powerful reminder of the sacred site lost and the collective responsibility to ensure such a tragedy never happens again. Through art and advocacy, the Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation continues to honor their heritage and work towards a future where their sacred lands are protected and respected.

The National Indigenous Cultural Centre (NICC) is an Indigenous home.
We provide Indigenous products, music, art and news.
If you want Indigenous gifts and merchandise, bush tucker food at your next event or Indigenous entertainment at your next party, expo or conference, feel free to contact us!

Visit our page: https://nicc.org.au/
Tony Clemenger.
Chief Executive Officer.
Tel: 0419431649.
Level 1 397 Chapel Street South Yarra 3141.

Source: https://nit.com.au/14-06-2024/12002/juukan-gorge-legacy-foundation-presented-artwork-of-the-cave-that-was-destroyed-four-years-ago

Write a comment