Kunred kakayhme: Homeland Calling

by Shaun Edwards




'Kunred kakayhme' means our country is calling out, yelling out to us, calling ushome. This is in my language Kunwinjku, the language spoken at my homeland.Mamardawerre. This is where l grew up, in Western Arnhem Land, and where my family still lives. There are a few houses there, a small school, no mobile reception and only one public phone we share.
I visited my family at Mamardawerre this year with a polaroid camera. I took photos to share a story of four generations of my family living happy and humble lives on their country. Homelands are part of who we are. Our country is our identity. it is part of how we feel, think and understand the world. Our people have known how to live on country, thrive off it's foods and weave with it's fibres since time immemorial.
Our water, our country, our life source is always there. It is always consistent.
The government is changing the flow of their river, they disturb our calm waters.They confuse us, telling us 'Leave your country, but move back to your country.only speak English, but speak your language, go to boarding school, but keep yourculture strong. and on, and on'.
Thirty-five years ago. the Australian government listened to us in theirParliamentary report 'Return to Country:The Aboriginal Homelands Movement inAustralia'. They respected our self-determination in moving back to our ancestral homelands.We want the people of Australia to listen to us again. To walk side by side with us.
Our people STILL live on country.Our languages are STILL spoken.Our knowledge STILL lives on today.
'Kabokaba' refers to the river, to it's changing waters and ripples on the water's surface, which is how l see government.
Our river is always strong at Mamardawerre, it's always been there, flowing, keeping us healthy. The government is always disturbing it, always trying to create 'change' to suit their own needs; altering the direction of things. We need to keep our rivers strong.calm and healthy together, Bininj and Balanda working together. We want to stay living on our homelands. We want our future generations to grow up on their country.
Kunred kakayhme, our country is still calling, we have never left.
Rodriguez Wilson
Kunred kakayhme is an initiative of the ANKA Artworker Extension Pathways Program, sponsored by the Australia Council for the Arts. Curatorial support: Ingrid Johanson