This hardback book features roughly 200 images photographed during May 2014.

It is divided into 4 sections; student portraits, community portraits, student work & process imagery.

The book was printed just a couple of weeks ago and has been hugely popular with the community.

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Angurugu School is set amongst one of Australia’s most remote townships. The community is vibrant and supportive but not without its challenges. Together Colleen and Stephanie run a wonderful school. They regularly consult with community members to ensure sensitivity towards community events and customs. They encourage attendance, maintain the local language whilst integrating English into the curriculum, they balance fun with discipline, ensure all students are fed at breakfast, recesss and lunch, care for their fellow staff…the list is endless. It was a privilege to work at Angurugu School.

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The NT News has recently featured 2 articles in response to the NT Heritage Photography competition. Pictured below are Rohan’s proud parents (photo credit Chris La Rosa).

The work of eight students was featured in this exhibition, with first prize awarded to Rohan. The exhibition along with these publications have been very positive for the community of Angurugu. The images are an indication of the individual talents of the students as well as the beauty of the Groote Eylandt landscape.

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The One People One Voice Festival was a huge success. It presented a colourful array of events, performances and stalls, one of which was the Photo Booth. The exhibition showcased approximately 100 images – student work, student portraits, community portraits and some landscapes I shot during May. Set in a beautiful remote location, with Umbakumba bay as a backdrop, the imagery provoked a lot of discussion and reflection. Students who had work in the exhibition were delighted and sometimes embarrassed to see their work on public display.
Following the festival the prints were delivered to the ALC for future exhibition in the cultural centres, which are due to open in the near future.

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This morning we did a portrait workshop with Tony’s boys from Umbakumba school. Bobby, Jason, Jarius, Nilda, Sean, Ross, Razack & Jessikiah all took turns posing, using the reflector and taking pictures. It was a bright sunny day, and also windy…some tricky conditions but we made some nice portraits nonetheless.

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Festival preparations are underway at Umbakumba. The lineup for the festival looks exciting – a mixture of music, dance, football, hip hop workshops, arts and craft and a photo booth which will give families a chance to pose for a formal photograph.

Students from Umbakumba school assisted with painting a backdrop for the photo booth which will be constructed at the festival site tomorrow.

Jimmy Dodd prepared a background for a community mural which he has designed and will oversee on Saturday.

We will also be installing an exhibition of 100 photographs which showcases student work, portraits and landscapes created during the Portraits of Knowledge project.

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On Tuesday 19 August, the inaugural NT Heritage Photography exhibition was opened at the NT Library in Darwin by The Hon Peter Chandler, the Minister for Lands Planning and the Environment.

Several of the student’s images had been shortlisted and it was fantastic to accept first prize for the under 18 category on behalf of Rohan Amagula.

The competition called for images which represented landscapes or buildings of cultural significance. The winning entry was photographed at Amburrkba (North East Island) which is an uninhabited island off the coast of Groote Island.

Other entries which were exhibited were photographed at Jagged Head and around the township of Angurugu.

Atop a large rock, Thomas Nunggumadjbarr photographed the troopies and his classmates at Jagged Head. His grandmother Jacquie attended the opening and was very proud of her grandson and his friends.North East Island (Amburrkba), Groote Eylandt2014_aug19_ntlibrary08_lr2014_aug19_ntlibrary20_lr2014_aug19_ntlibrary38_lr2014_aug19_ntlibrary40_lrt2014_aug19_ntlibrary44_lr

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Ghost nets present a big problem to the marine life around Groote Eylandt (and beyond). These large fishing nets are dumped into the oceans after use, and continue to catch and kill marine life. Even a net that has washed up on the beach is a risk as it can continue to destroy life if it is washed back out to sea.

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As part of the learning on country program which is being developed by teachers at Angurugu school in consultation with the Anindilyakwa rangers, students travel with rangers and teachers to collect ghost nets which litter the beaches of Groote Eylandt.

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This project has several objectives; firstly, and most importantly, to free any animals such as turtles which are potentially trapped and still alive inside the ghost nets. On a recent trip to Jagged head we found a turtle inside a net but unfortunately we had arrived too late.

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The rangers collect the nets, wash, weigh and study the materials they are made from to deduce where they have come from. Over the next couple of years, all of this data will be collated and then presented to our neighboring countries and hopefully some accountability and responsibility for the nets and their safe disposal can be agreed and acted upon.

Another offshoot of this project has been an artisan trade developed by the elder women on Groote Eylandt. These artists use ghost nets to create baskets, bags, dolls and other toys. Their wares are on display at the Dugong Art Centre in Alyangula.

Last Wednesday I took 3 students – Rekisha, Eileen & Saralena to the Dugong Art Centre to meet some of the artists and photograph portraits of them. These artists have contributed to raising the awareness of the problem of ghost nets whilst at the same time using the waste for a functional purpose.

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Greta at the Umbakumba store, May 20 2014

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Last week’s exhibition was a success. Percy Bishop, who runs the local radio station suggested that we have an exhibition in the community of Umbakumba, some 40km from where I had been working in Angurugu.

In the weeks leading up to the event, I printed a range of photographs by students and myself of people and places around the island. These included images of individuals, group portraits, family portraits, portraits of families on the Umbakumba jetty, landscapes from Amburrkba, Jagged Head & the cave paintings. We also included some Cyanotypes made by students at Angurugu school & on Amburrkba (North East Island). The Cyanotypes were created by exposing natural objects such as leaves and shells, man made objects such as a sling shot and human waste, such as ghost nets.

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These images were exhibited in conjunction with large black and white prints & Cyanotypes which I had exhibited in Melbourne in April this year. These included portraits photographed at the Leske pools and aerial photographs of Groote Eylandt shot in August 2013.

It was a simple, spontaneous show and I am grateful to the store owners for letting us use their space out the front of the shop. As Percy suggested, this is the location that probably gets the most foot traffic with limited marketing of the event. The images were received with curiosity and laughter, supposedly this was the first photography exhibition that Umbakumba has had and in just a couple of months, we will return to put on a large scale exhibition during the One People One Voice festival.

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Made a visit to a few families round Angurugu today. Many members of the family were out fishing – it was a good day for it. Warm sun, a bit of rain & a cool breeze. But those who were in town were keen for portraits & what wonderful, colourful subjects they all were!

Amy’s chiwawa really wanted to be a part of the scene.

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Amy’s mob, Angurugu

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Faith’s daughters shared their damper which was delicious, then posed in front of their banana tree. Faith also asked for a portrait with her husband and father.

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Jayde stood with his mother Serena & Gregory in their lush garden, I will return tomorrow to photograph him with the rest of his siblings. Jayde has been taking some fantastic photographs and it was great to photograph him with his parents.

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Jayde, (centre) with Gregory & Serena

Sylvia’s mob were a lot of fun & following our session Matt interviewed Sylvia about her recent experience of survival out bush – she was accidentally left out on country and made her way back to town over a period of days, living of the land, using her knowledge.

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Sylvia, Jeffrey, Lorisann (back), Russel, Sarakina & Javian Angurugu

 

Jemila’s look inspired a solo portrait, a face full of energy & wit.

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Jemila, Angurugu

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Sylvia’s mob

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