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Warwick THORNTON

Kaytetye people

Alice Springs, Northern Territory 1970

Way of the Ngangkari # 6 2015 Description: Master
Place made: Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: audiovisual, multimedia, digital video Support: fixed screen

Dimensions: screen 58 h inches
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2016
Accession No: NGA 2016.236.3
Image rights: Courtesy of the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery
Provenance:
  • Purchased 2016

Seeing Star wars in 1979 Thornton recalls that he was instantly enthralled by the fantasy it presented and the power of the Jedi. He realised that there were in fact Jedi all around him. 'In my family we have Jedi', he has written, 'They are not called that; they are called Ngangkari, men and women with special powers that can be used for good or evil. The power to heal and the power to kill. They are recognised at birth and taught the ways of the Ngangkari.

'They are medicine men and women, but on a more spiritual and astral plane. At that time, two of my Uncles were esteemed Ngangkari's, healing the sick, fighting evil, travelling hundreds of kilometres through the desert…. So at this age, the way of the Jedi, or the Ngangkari, was, for me, a reality. Thanks George Lucas'. Each of these animations connects together some of the key motifs of twentieth-century popular culture and Aboriginal culture.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra