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Jarjums Life Museum

What

Jarjums Life Museum is just that little bit more special because it is a children’s museum. Harvey, 9

Jarjums Life Museum is a process and a collection of contemporary, original artworks created and curated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children or jarjums. Intertwining exploration, visual arts, storytelling, photography, soundscapes and culture, Jarjums Life Museum documents the life of the jarjums – their here and now and what life is like growing up today. 

During the pilot project in 2016, 86 jarjums from the coastal mob of Minjerribah – North Stradbroke Island and the urban mob of Hymba Yumba Community Place, worked closely with professional artists, their families and the wider community to create unique, contemporary and personal pop-up museums. The artworks in the collection included self portraits, drawings, writings, ideas, paintings, recordings and curated items which represented contemporary Indigenous culture and lives in an urban and coastal community. 

Each community had their own pop-up museum with the whole collection featured as part of Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Out of the Box Festival. The jarjums were featured artists of the festival and acted as guides answering questions and connecting with museum visitors as well as experiencing the rest of the program. 

Delivered by Inala Wangarra, Jarjums Life Museum provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with the opportunity to tell and interpret their own stories – within their own communities, and to the wider world. 

Mixed media map created by the Minjerribah jarjums

When

January to August 2016

Where

Minjerribah- North Stradbroke Island 

Hymba Yumba Community Place, Springfield

QPAC, South Brisbane. 

Key stats

  • 89 participants
  • Over 200 children’s artworks
  • 6,226 attendees
  • 7 Queensland artists

Arts Queensland contribution

$50,000 – Backing Indigenous Art Fund   

Esther making a snake from clay.

Outcomes

  • Jarjums Life Museum provided a new vantage point for making Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children visible in society – not as victims, but as vibrant members of a living culture. It provides both a process and an outcome for telling contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s stories. 

I am so glad I found such a great exhibition. So deadly!! It was so lovely to see your wonderful creations and to share in your stories. Visitor Book, Jarjums Life Museum, Out of the Box, 2016 

  • Jarjums Life Museum provided an opportunity for the jarjums, their families and communities to see their lives revealed to a wide audience:

Seeing my daughter on the museum’s wall was so overwhelming that I just burst into tears. I am so proud of her and of all the work that she has done. I had no idea she was so creative. Parent

  • The artistic and project team worked closely with Dr Barbara Piscitelli to document the process and outcomes of the work. Dr Piscitelli evaluated the process and product, wrote up a model of practice and a comprehensive report detailing how the work was made. 
  • Inala Wangarra, in partnership with QPAC, have since delivered another Jarjums Life Museum project with the jarjums of Cherbourg and The Ration Shed Museum. They will be working with the jarjums on the Gold Coast during 2017 to create another pop-up museum and are in talks with another two communities. 

Learnings and reflections

The artistic and project team reflected on the main learnings from the project and impacts:

The number of hours spent in each community really contributed to the success for the project. Over 40 hours ended up being spent in each location and this is evidenced in the work that was created and in the enduring connections with jarjums, their families and the wider community. 

This project highlighted the depth of creative and cultural capacity of the jarjums we worked with and worked to strengthen our core project philosophy: Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders should be visible in mainstream society. 

Self portrait: Artist Libby Harward working with Izaac to create his self portrait

Contact for further information

Jane Jennison

Email: stylinup@inalawangarra.com.au

Website: http://inalawangarra.com.au/

 

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