Deathscapes

Ward 3b - 'Who talks for my Country now?'

Deathscapes

‘Who Talks For My Country Now?’

Mr Ward holds up his artwork (an art glass panel) 'Wati Warnampi at Tartjarr – Rainbow Serpent Man at Tartjarr Soak'.

[imagecaption] Art glass panel by Mr Ward, Wati Warnampi at Tartjarr – Rainbow Serpent Man at Tartjarr Soak. Art glass panel. Photo: Elves Brites. In this photo we see the joy with which Mr Ward holds up his own artwork on the grounds of Warburton Arts. This artwork was also exhibited as part of the Perth International Arts Festival. This photograph was specially selected by the Ward family for inclusion on the Deathscapes site. [/imagecaption]

[BREAK]

Who talks for my country now? was the title of Mr Ward’s contribution to the multi-media exhibition, Trust, featuring Indigenous commentaries on the impact of mineral and oil explorations on their traditional lands. The sentence was stencilled across the length of the gallery from an original in his own hand writing.

Mr Ward spoke for his country as a linguist, artist, performer, conservationist and statesman, and most critically a campaigner for sovereignty.

One of his most complex political artworks, The Seven Seals of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, consists of seven artglass discs each featuring one of the seminal creative beings. His use of the English word ‘seal’ was purposeful to convey that these creative ancestors are the insignia, the emblems, the authentication and the validation of desert culture. Following his death, Daisy Ward displayed one of these glass seals when speaking on the steps of Parliament House with the Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples about Mr Ward and deaths in custody in general. A photograph of this event was published in The West Australian.

(Based on a longer narrative prepared for Deathscapes by Jan Turner.)


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