Wik-Alken/Ngatharr, Wik Ngathan, Wik-Mungkan

Vera Koomeeta works on her large-scale painting [Photo: Gina Allain]

Vera Koomeeta works on her large-scale painting [Photo: Gina Allain]

Linguist Louise Ashmore has been in Aurukun since March, leading the establishment of Language Action Teams and the development of Language Plans for Wik-Alken/Ngatharr and Wik-Ngathan.

In April Louise and artist Gina Allain facilitated a well-attended and highly productive 7 day workshop in collaboration with the Aurukun Arts Centre.

The Painted Stories workshop was planned with speakers to record stories in Wik-Alken/Ngatharr and Wik-Ngathan, as well as Wik-Mungkan to pass to the younger generations through oral and written recording and through their painting skills.

From 7:30 each morning until the doors closed in the afternoon the Aurukun Arts Centre hummed with activity.

Adelaide and Lois Toikalkin watch their recordings about their country site depicted in Lois’s painting My Country (behind) [Photo: Louise Ashmore]

Adelaide and Lois Toikalkin watch their recordings about their country site depicted in Lois’s painting My Country (behind) [Photo: Louise Ashmore]

Elders involved younger generations in painting aspects of their country sites, and in recording autobiographical narratives and cultural history.

The paintings and language materials generated by the workshop have significantly expanded the corpora of these under-documented and fragile languages and are now forming the basis for a series of Wik-Alken/Ngatharr, Wik-Ngathan and Wik-Mungkan language learning resources, including print books, read-aloud e-books and topical dictionaries.

Younger family members assist with documenting the workshop Painted Stories [Photo: Louise Ashmore]

Younger family members assist with documenting the workshop Painted
Stories [Photo: Louise Ashmore]