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Arts, Community, Disability, Education, Health & Wellbeing, History, Human Rights, Indigenous, Refugees, Social Justice, Welfare, Youth
“If you don't accept people can change ~ no one has an incentive to change..." Myuran Sukumaran (17 April 1981 – 29 April 2015) was an Australian who was convicted in Indonesia of drug trafficking as a member of the Bali Nine. In 2005, Sukumaran was arrested in a room at the Melasti Hotel in Kuta with three others. Police found 334 g (11.8 oz) of heroin in a suitcase in the room. According to court testimonies of convicted drug mules, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were the co-ringleaders of the heroin-smuggling operation from Indonesia to Australia. After a criminal trial, Sukumaran was sentenced on 14 February 2006 by the Denpasar District Court to execution by firing squad. Australian death-row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran made a personal appeal for mercy to Joko Widodo, painting a portrait of the Indonesian president and signing it with the words 'People Can Change'. After lodging an appeal against his sentence, this was initially dismissed by the Bali High Court. A judicial review conducted by the Indonesian Supreme Court on 6 July 2011 affirmed the death sentence. Sukumaran’s plea for clemency was rejected by the President of Indonesia on 30 December 2014, and Sukumaran was expected to face execution, together with Chan. The execution was carried out on 29 April 2015. Myuran Sukumaran led an art studio for his fellow prisoners during his time in Kerobokan prison, where he was mentored. Myuran taught English, computer, graphic design and philosophy classes to prisoners. The portrait of Mr Joko Widodo signed 'People Can Change' is his most recent work. He painted the oil on canvas artwork in Kerobokan prison in late January 2015, in his final weeks there before being transferred to Nusakambangan Island. Myu painted multiple self-portraits while on Nusakambangan. His final painting resembles a bleeding Indonesian flag. He was recently awarded an associate degree in fine arts by Curtin University. Myuran Sukumaran had his first major Australian exhibition at the Campbelltown Arts Centre in January 2017, curated by noted Australian artist, Ben Quilty. ‘Alone from night to night you'll find me Too weak to break these chains that bind me I need no shackles to remind me I'm just a prisoner, don't let me be a prisoner From one command I stand and wait now From one who's master of my fate now I can't escape for it's too late now I'm just a prisoner, don't let me be a prisoner.’
Arts, Community, Education, Environment, History, Human Rights, Indigenous, Social Justice, Youth
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In Australia today over 250 remote indigenous homeland communities face forced closure. Djakapurra Munyarryun, a celebrated indigenous artist often called upon to travel the world and share his traditional knowledge wants to know why people want his culture but not his homeland lifestyle? It’s a simple question without a simple answer. EXTENDED SYNOPSIS: HOMELANDS is an authored documentary that looks to define what has to be done by the next generation of Yolngu leaders to create the future they want and not the one other’s tell them they have to have. Structured around the journey of Djakapurra Munyarryun, a 42 year-old Yolngu man and celebrated performing artist from NE Arnhem Land, as he wrestles with his quest for a better and more equitable future for his family and community. But the forces against achieving that, laden as they are with assimilationist views, conveniently forget that the Homeland’s Movement is an active implementation of the Rights to Culture recognised in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It’s also what Djakapurra and other Yolngu leaders want for their children. In the Northern Territory 32% of the population is indigenous and over 60% of these live in remote homelands, with around 7,500 Yolngu amongst them. But many of these homelands are small, like Dhalinybuy where Djakapurra’s family lives, housing 50-100 people at most. Across the country, WA and SA state governments are set to close 250 homeland communities because they’re ‘unsustainable’. This doesn’t bode well for NT homeland’s future. In September 2007 the Commonwealth and the Northern Territory Governments signed an MOU that saw the transfer of responsibility for Indigenous housing and infrastructure handed to the Northern Territory Government and marked the cessation of Commonwealth funding for the 500 plus communities classed as homelands. Eight years on we see the NT Homeland movement starting to break under the strain as services remain under funded and programs are cut back to the bone. However, with the ambition of NT statehood in play for 2018 and the quest for Constitutional recognition of Australia’s first nation’s people, the question of Homeland’s future in Australia’s north is sure to be a major topic of debate as this film prepares the groundwork for a renewed call of self-determination. Conceived as a feature documentary HOMELANDS employs an immersive atmosphere that will lead its audience on a powerful human journey into the heart of Yolngu culture, backgrounded by an historic injustice and a contemporary social crisis. For Djakapurra, a man who has spent his life presenting his culture on the world’s stages, this means taking his 12-year old son Russell on the journey to manhood. First through his dhapi initiation and then onto the stage, as Djakapurra builds the dream of running his own remote homeland-based Production Company from Dhalinybuy with the development of a new work.
Westwind: Djalu's Legacy
Arts, Community, Education, History, Human Rights, Indigenous, Social Justice, Youth
WESTWIND: Djalu’s Legacy Short Synopsis An ageing tribal elder, a didgeridoo master and custodian of an ancient dreaming has no-one to inherit his sacred and esoteric traditional songlines. His son’s are consumed by the modern world; one blinded by the light, the other by depression. Djalu seeks a way forward. The answer comes from an unlikely place. He sets out to make a film, a film that will take him to the world and in an emotional climax find a willing custodian for the next generation. Long Synopsis Djalu is a valiant, cunning but ageing Aboriginal lawman. He is respected and feared in indigenous circles across ‘the top-end’. That’s because Djalu is a wise man. He is also the spiritual custodian of an ancient songline, that has preserved and enriched his tribal homeland, generation by generation since the birth of time. But now Djalu faces a dilemma. The precious songline that he ‘sings’ on his didgeridoo is in danger of disappearing as younger generations (including Djalu’s own sons), are distracted by new technologies, pop music and the ways of the West. Djalu will do anything to save what must be sung to ensure the health of his country and the future survival of his people. Without it, everything perishes. Djalu is a ‘lightning’ totem. He must do something fast. His health is failing and his energy must now all be concentrated on this alone. He must find someone to inherit his legacy. Djalu’s plan shocks everyone. It will involve the making of a film, a trip to London hobnobbing with the glitterati of contemporary pop music. He will visit their world and they will visit his. Along the way Djalu steps outside the normal paradigms of indigenous story. He is the wise custodian but before our eyes also the international jetsetter and the flamboyant showman who charms his way across Europe. The outcome of Djalu’s journey is equally surprising. When it seems that Djalu has lost the way or that he could even sell his precious legacy cheaply to outsiders, something happens - lightening strikes and Djalu proves himself as the wise old man that he always was.