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Lajamanu Art

The community is located approximately 560 kms south west of Katherine, on the northern edge of the Tanami Desert and the eastern side of Hooker Creek. Lajamanu also borders the southern boundary of Wave Hill Station.

Lajamanu has a population of almost 1000, mainly Warlpiri people who strongly maintain their language and culture. Ceremonies and traditional art are extremely important; the remoteness of the place (the road often becomes impassable in the wet season) and the fact that Community Councils have always insisted upon it being a “dry” (alcohol free) community has been an important contributing factor in the culture remaining strong.

Warnayaka Art & Culture Aboriginal Corporation

The older generation here still remember the first time they met white Australians. Their great grandchildren run around Lajamanu. These older members of Lajamanu Community see Warnayaka as an avenue to achieve a number of needs that are present in their community. At the centre these elders still create their Indigenous Aboriginal dot paintings.

The most important thing expressed by members, is the need to preserve and pass on the cultural significance of Warlpiri, the culture of the people of Lajamanu, which encompasses not only art, but includes language, social structure, law and country. In doing so it is understood that excellence in art, prosperity from art sales, employment opportunities and preservation of pride in being Warlpiri will result.  The art center is a Warlpiri corporation.

The art centre is staffed mainly by the children of the older generation of Indigenous Lajamanu residents who remember their first contact with white Australia. They maintain the computerised data base and run the art centre production.  Older and younger community members produce Aboriginal dot paintings and make wooden artefacts.  The centre is a place for a cup of tea and a song and dance, and then a trip into the Spinifex desert to look for goanna and lizards or to collect bush coconut, bush banana, yams and bush honey from native bees.

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