ArtsReady Trainee Passionate to Revive Ancient Indigenous Culture

ArtsReady Trainee Passionate to Revive Ancient Indigenous Culture

ArtsReady Trainee Passionate to Revive Ancient Indigenous Culture

A project to help revive ancient Indigenous culture and language in communities across Central Australia is currently underway and our SA ArtsReady trainee, Samantha (Sammy) Kearney, is at the forefront of the mission.

The organisation running the project is Sammy’s host employer, CARCLEW, a leading youth arts body located in Adelaide, dedicated to nurturing the creative skills of children and young people, so they can build a career in the arts and creative industries.

“I adore this organisation and I am so passionate about this project,” said Sammy who is a proud Aboriginal woman with ties to Wilcannia Country.

Tjitjiku Tjukurpa which translates to The Children’s Dreaming is the name of the 4-part project, created by the organisation in partnership with Lee-Ann Buckskin & Associates.

“We focused on working with children from communities including, Amata, Pukatja and Mimili and through the project cultural custodians teach them Inma (ancient song, dance and body paint), from Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara culture and we do this through the exploration of the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Seven Sisters creation story.”

The first part of the project takes the children on an 8-day journey tracking the Seven Sisters Songlines across the APY lands.

“We started our journey in Port Augusta and the excursion took us all the way up the Stuart Highway over the Northern Territory border. We then finished in the APY lands at the sacred site of Cave Hill, a significant landmark in the Seven Sisters Songline.

Along the way, we stopped at different cultural locations to learn ancient song and dance from Aboriginal custodians.”

The key outcome of the project is to develop an online creative resource which will assist teachers in delivering this ancient Aboriginal content to young people in schools in community.

“The experience was unforgettable. We immersed ourselves in the learning of ancient Aboriginal culture and the children absolutely loved it. The unforeseen connections I made on this journey will stay with me forever.”

The other three elements of the project focus on working with different art forms and artists in three communities, bringing to life the APY story of the Seven Sisters.

In the community of Amata children will learn ancient Inma and Punu (traditional wood carving), In Pukatja children will work with renowned Claymation artist, Jonathan Daw, to recreate the Seven Sisters Story into a children’s claymation animation and in Mimili children will work with contemporary music duo, Electric Fields, to transform the ancient songs of the Seven Sisters into modern tracks.

“It’s a huge project but the outcomes are so important to help revive and safeguard ancient Aboriginal knowledge and culture. This really means a lot to me and to the wider Indigenous community.”

The Tjitjiku Tjukurpa project is only one part of Sammy’s diverse and exciting role at CARCLEW.

She started her traineeship with the youth arts organisation in late 2018, however, her connection to CARCLEW goes back to 2017.

“I started volunteering at CARCLEW because I appreciated and loved the work they do for young people.

They offer programs, workshops, events and art projects not just locally but in the wider community where young people can immerse themselves in creative experiences.”

When the opportunity arose to undertake a traineeship with CARCLEW as an Arts Administration trainee, while studying a Certificate III in Business, Sammy was the perfect fit.

“I have always been interested in art and I love to explore all forms including singing, playing guitar, painting and drawing. I always thought of art as my hobby and never explored the idea that I could be paid for doing what I love”.

But that quickly changed for Sammy once she started her traineeship journey.

“My role is so extraordinary; I get to work on exciting projects and help with events and art exhibitions. The best part is that every day I do something different.”

The people I work with are supportive, generous and kind. These are friendships that will last a lifetime

Not to mention we work in a beautiful old castle which just makes the job even more magical.”

(CARCLEW castle, built in 1897.)

Sammy has recently been offered the opportunity to continue her traineeship with CARCLEW and take on a Certificate IV in 2020.

“I adore this organisation. I couldn’t be happier to continue my work here especially on the Tjitjiku Tjukurpa project.

Young people need to be reminded that you can do something you love as a job. I learnt that through this traineeship.

I never thought I would be working with such an amazing organisation who are doing work I am so passionate about.”

To learn more about the Tjitjiku Tjukurpa project and the other work CARCLEW does please visit:

To learn more about our ArtsReady program visit:

DATE: 14th of August 2019

AUTHOR: Marissa Pagliarello

IMAGE: Sammy with two wonderful people she met on her journey, Uncle Crombie and Anna.