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We learned to see country in a different way.
Neville Japangardi Poulson, 2012
At the time their parents were making drawings for Mervyn Meggitt, Warlpiri children were coming to terms with a European-style education. By the late 1960s, teacher David Tunley was in charge of the manual arts class for senior boys at the Yuendumu school. He later recalled that when it came to picture-making his students ‘required no teaching’.
However, former pupil Neville Japangardi Poulson remembered learning particular drawing techniques from his teacher and friend. In classroom drawing exercises, children and young adults were taught single-point perspective and how to paint with watercolours. They acquired new ways of picturing themselves, other people and objects in the world, including places and events far beyond Warlpiri country. As Japangardi puts it, ‘We learned to see in a new way’.
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