Mowanjum Festival

Another annual event at Boab Festival time is the Mowanjum Festival. This is held out at the Mowanjum Aboriginal Community, not far from Derby on the Gibb River rd. The community comprises of people from three different language groups, the Wororra, The Ngarinyin and Wunumbul. Traditionally language groups did not live together. All these people were moved off their different lands when white man came along and took it. No longer able to live their old way of life on these now mostly cattle/sheep properties some worked for the new land owners (on their old lands) as stockman, drovers or kitchen hands or maids. Others were moved onto church missions. Eventually these missions were closed and the three groups of the area were moved (yet again) to a combined community of their own. This is Mowanjum. The festival is a celebration of their culture and to share their culture with outsiders. Everyone seemed to really be enjoying themselves, particularly the older dancers who took the dance very seriously.

mowanjum cultural centre
The three different Wandjinas on the sign represent the three language groups. They believe the Wandjina is the supreme being and they paint the Wandjina’s image in a lot of their paintings. They do NOT believe the Wandjinas found in rock caves were painted by man but by the Wandjinas themselves. It is sort of like painting God and they take it very seriously. If you remember the giant Wandjina from the 2000 Olympics opening ceremony, it was done by an artist from Mowanjum.
womanjum festival
The performance area is ready.

We started at the cultural centre and art gallery. I saw a paining  I REALLY would have liked but managed to get back out the door without it. We have repairs to pay for now!

music mowanjun
The kids playing in a band for the crowd. I love the mitre 10 drums.
ocre painting
You could learn to paint with ochre, which is what they use in this area.
boab nut carving
I had a go at boab nut carving. You start by rubbing off all the white fluff off the nut to get down to the dark stuff.
boab nut carving2
Then you etch a design in this. I really wanted a little hand engraver instead of the blunt knife though.
mother from goulburn islandgetting down
There were two other aboriginal groups invited to travel to Mowanjum for the festival. One was from Goulburn Island in the NT and the other was from Warmun which we had visited earlier. This lady was from Goulburn Island and she took her dance seriously. The younger girls watched her and tried to copy her dance style.
mammas and pappas
2 dancers from Goulburn Island
little guy2
The little guy at the front must have been under 2, but he still got to dance. The other boys danced but kept an eye on him/looked after him and picked him up to get him off the stage when necessary, as he loved to perform!
little guy
The boys were enjoying themselves. An ABC photographer was in our way the whole time!
kallum
A bit of modern singing from Kallum Mungulu
big snake from warmun
Warmun dancers with giant rainbow serpent in Warmun ochre colours
the girls
The girls were pretty excited and enjoyed themselves.
mowanjun dance
Mowanjum dancers with pretty impressive props.

 

 

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