We had a very exciting couple of days to end the week. We did our first radio interview on community radio 106.1FM with DJ Sticks. DJ Sticks is the coolest guy in town, he calls his studio his hideaway spot and he was so easy going that we forgot our lines! He walks around with his walking stick and his mirror sunglasses and he plays awesome songs all day in his air conditioned bunker. He has the best job in the world! He even let us sit in the pilot seat and let us play any songs we wanted – we played Long Way to the Top by ACDC, Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan, Gypsy and Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac, Proud Mary by Credence Clearwater and he played Redemption Song by Bob Marley.
We enjoyed our time so much that we stayed for a 2nd segment! We made community announcements about our presence and why we were here. We invited everyone to come down to the workshop and get their bikes fixed and or learn bike mechanics. One kid, Trent, showed an interest for bike mechanics and he told us he fixed his own brakes. He is smart, softly spoken and quite gentle and working with him was very rewarding. We also threw Richard into the deep end and told him to fix anything that came his way. He used to ride BMX’s so he knows a few things and he takes care of all the kids that come by who asks for a bike. We are going to teach Richard everything we know in the 2nd week since he will be managing this program for the locals – he is a real gem in this community! He is very generous with his time and does everything he can to help the people who want to be helped. The locals are in good hands.
But all seriousness aside, we always have time for some fun! DJ Sticks came by to visit us at the workshop!
We also had an audience, a different group of people came by throughout the day to watch us fix and say hello, it was just another open volunteering day but in Pormpuraaw! Even though we were in the spotlight, we were under the pump to get bikes fixed for the people who had ordered one earlier in the week. One special order was made by Elliot, he is an artist and was very eager to receive his bike because he walks with a limp and wants to go fishing with it. He painted the ‘Welcome to Pormpuraaw’ painting at the airport – and what a privilege it is to give him a bike, an individual who is well respected in his community and the art world. He was so gracious and excited, it was as if Christmas came early.
On our first day, we met an American, Paul, he is the Art & Culture Director of Pormpuraaw and serves as an agent to the local artists. A colleague of his and an artist, Sid Bruce Short Joe (SBS), told us that it is very common for people to assume Aboriginal art is mainly filled with dots. The dot paintings are maps showing the traditional visual language of their homeland/tribe, however, this is not the case in the land of Pormpuraaw. The paintings from the Pormpuraaw region are songs that show tribal life from their history and how they lived, their stories brushed one stroke at a time on canvas and or printed and then painted over.
The totems of Pormpuraaw are the crocodile and barramundi.
Totems are used as family names, tribal identity. Every totem has a traditional dance, and claim to country. Totems identify different clans within a tribe. They are used to trace family kinship and history.
“English name were given to our people three generations back. White settlers, stockman and police with the help of black trackers gave us those names. Before that time we had bush names that connected us to our clans and country using totems.” – Sid Bruce Short Joe