I realised that we needed to get all our cultural knowledge from our elders recorded and put in a safe place because we haven’t got many elders left. So we need to keep this important knowledge in a safe place for future generations.
Cultural affiliations/language group: Ngarinyin
Community focus: Mowanjum community, Derby, Western Australia
Position: Digital Media and Collection Assistant
Employer: Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre
Interests: Repatriation — digital/audio and cultural heritage items, collections management and archival processes, conservation, research and data management, museum curatorial display
Sherika Nulgit belongs to the Ngarinyin tribe, and her homeland is the country around Silent Grove, Mount Hart and along the Isdell River, in north-west Western Australia.
An emerging visual artist working in photography, painting and printmaking, she was selected for the Revealed exhibition at Fremantle Arts Centre in 2016.
She worked for three years with the Wunggurr Rangers on country, learning how to protect and preserve rock art and biodiversity, and taking traditional owners back on country. She then became involved in the Junba Project with Dr Sally Treloyn from the University of Melbourne, transcribing the lyrics of her people’s junba (traditional songs).
Sherika is currently working with the media collection crew for Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre, helping the community to explore and deepen cultural knowledge through digital media platforms.
‘I would like to do a research project relating to Western and Aboriginal approaches to caring for repatriated and donated cultural objects. For this project I would take the cultural objects relating to the three Wandjina language groups, digitise them, store them at Mowanjum Arts correctly according to museum standards, and work out the best way to display them in the soon-to-be-built Mowanjum Museum at Mowanjum Art Centre.
For the cultural side, I would like to take the objects to our old people to look at first to make sure the objects are suitable for public viewing according to cultural protocol (i.e. not men’s business or women’s business). I would research the objects’ meanings, significance and associated stories. I would also research any necessary treatments required.
The information collected will be used in the Mowanjum digital archive and museum to educate members of the three language groups represented by Mowanjum Arts and visiting audiences. It would pass on important knowledge about the cultural treatment of objects to the next generation, and strengthen the knowledge held by younger people in the community. Stakeholders of this project will include community elders, family members relating to the objects and the Mowanjum Arts team.’