Kulinmaya! Keep listening, everybody!
Mumu Mike Williams
Allen & Unwin
‘Kulinmaya!’ by artist Mumu Mike Williams is both a touchstone and a jumping off point. It is a comprehensive and yet accessible book that charts his life experiences, art practice, Tjukurpa Law and engagement with the land rights movement in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands of Central Australia. In addition there is a discussion with elders, story ‘Waru pitjantja’ (The way the fire was returned) and essay from Hetti Kemerre Perkins. The title underscores the importance of putting traditional languages first, praises the intentions of activists, as well as respecting the rituals and attitudes to hierarchy and land that are part of cultural fabric. The book is enriched with photographs of his family from as early as the 1950s, reproductions of artworks and is written in Pitjantjatjara and English.
Williams reflects on how his art practice, which includes text, depictions of the land and appropriates Commonwealth material like mailbags is testament to the strength of his culture. We also hear from Sammy Dodd who shares wisdom about making kulata, and later learn how the spear is a symbol of protection in Williams’ paintings. A driving force for sharing these stories and information is so that the children will grow up strong and able to carry the culture forward.