Living arts program - connecting to culture

11 February 2019

The Living Arts Tjiranka Tjatu Nintiringanyi Program at Life Without Barriers began in July 2018. The program consists of five Aboriginal boys aged between fifteen and sixteen from Life Without Barriers's Out of Home Care services.

Image: Aboriginal Artist painting a Yidaki

Six months later one of the young artists is walking through the doors of Adelaide College of the Arts to begin Cert 3 in Visual Arts. This is just the beginning of his journey and one of many exciting achievements of the new program. Tjiranka tjatu nintiringanyi is an arts based program for teenage boys designed to connect them to culture using the yidaki (digeridoo).

The Life Without Barriers Living Arts and Out-of-Home Care teams have created a place of learning and discovery embracing the spirit of ngapartji-ngapartji – I learn from you, you learn from me. The weekly program challenges a select group of teenagers to learn and paint their own yidaki. Over two terms they have been learning their own tjukur(pa), exploring themes of family, language and culture. They produced ten yidaki and learnt to circular breathe. In November 2018 they exhibited their work at Flinders University as part of the University’s social work placement program and partnership with Life Without Barriers. 

The theme of tjukur(pa) is fundamental to Aboriginal culture. It defines the relationship between people, plants, animals and the physical features of the land. It provides a way of passing on knowledge of culture, ancestry, land and sacred sites through ceremony, song, dance and art.

Read the personal reflections from two of our participants. 

 “When I first came here I enjoyed meeting new people. I liked making the first yidaki, painting and learning to make sounds and then getting to make a second one from what I had learned and feeling more experienced.” 

Living Arts program participant.

“I like drawing people I know, people I want to know. It was a new experience and pushed me out of my comfort zone working with different people.”

Living Arts program participant.