And all life, living there,
Nature as it was meant to be,
Fading with time and prosperity,
From living lands to dead concrete
~ from 'My Beautiful Land' by Lola McKickett
The Art Gallery of Western Australia, 'Kaalak Minditj Kaalak' (Home Sick Home) is a multimedia artwork by Noongar artist Esther McDowell/Yabini Kickett, launched during NAIDOC Week 2019: Voice. Treaty. Truth.
The project was a 7 month long Artist Activation at AGWA that saw Esther developing concepts and collaborating with multigenerational audiences as part of the Desert River Sea: Portraits of the Kimberley exhibition programming. Esther's powerful work explores the displacement of endemic species in favour of introduced species and the urgent need to refocus environmental preservation efforts towards native flora.
"Jacarandas blanket this country that they don't belong to. They occupy a space they're not entitled to. they're suffocating this Booja (Country) as much as the concrete throughout Perth. Native vegetation is being neglected and abused, underutilised and disrespected."
Red Room Poetry supported the launch of the multi-media artwork by commissioning poet, Lola McKickett, a Balladong, Wadjuk yok with Irish ancestry. The final work was a slow moving animated collage of responses by participants of all ages in painting workshops with Esther, and was exhibited on the Perth Cultural Centre screen. Lola’s McKickett’s commissioned poem was written in response to the themes in Kaalak Minditj Kaalak and features in the final work of art.
The launch event concluded with a rousing reading by Lola of her poem, 'My Beautiful Land' in Noongar and then in English.