Joonba, junba and juju are three names from Kimberley Aboriginal languages for a specific form of performance driven by narrative. In Gija and Miriwoong languages the word is joonba, in Ngarinyin junbaand in Bunuba country juju. Bringing together different countries and language groups from across the Kimberley, Joonba, Junba, Juju is part of a gradually unfolding project that has strengthened these song and dance cycles in the region.
With rising dust, a thick crust of body paint and songs in diverse Aboriginal languages, the sharing of performance unfolds. Central to this project from its inception has been the concept of wirnan in the East and wunan in the West. In the past, groups travelled on foot to visit neighbouring and distant communities. Wirnan/wunan refers partly to the formal network whereby people exchanged objects, materials and ideas. Transactions were governed by protocols determined by relationships of mutual obligation and kinship. Just as commodities such as shells, spear shafts, honey, meat, fruit and vegetables, wax and string made from kangaroo sinew were traded – so too were song cycles.
Opening launch performances:
To be opened by senior Gija singer Phyllis Thomas, who will be accompanied by Shirley Drill (Gija), Gabriel Nodea (Gija) and Chris Griffiths (Miriwoong). KAA have invited Richard Green (Darug), Matthew Doyle (Muruwari) and Clarence Slockee (Bundjalung) to perform and welcome this exhibition to Sydney in the spirit of wirnan.
Presented by Kimberley Aboriginal Artists (KAA) and UTS Art. KAA: Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Mowanjum Arts and Culture Centre, Waringarri Aboriginal Arts and Warmun Art Centre. Supported by UTS: Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning. The project has also received support from the Department of Culture and the Arts, Western Australia and the Federal Government through the Ministry for the Arts.