Visual Anthropology Forum


Wednesday 29 July 12-1:30pm,

The Theatrette (rm. 2.02), Sir Roland Wilson Building, ANU

Ancestral Animals (2015, 60 mins)

Natasha Fijn

Synopsis of Film

'Ancestral Animals' is about Garrthalala as a place and how the Yolngu community who live there are connected with other beings, including ancestors, animals and plants. Aboriginal people have lived in Arnhem Land for over 45,000 years, which means that over time they have developed a deep, spiritual connection with the land. Totemic beings of significance include the saltwater crocodile, crows, dogs and dingoes, crabs, sea eagles, turtles, and yams. The film follows 'Yolngu time' where the pace is measured and not run according to the institutional timeframes of wider Australia.

Homeland communities are increasingly under threat from a lack of financial support and investment into infrastructure from the Australian government with a push for Yolngu to move into town centres, despite the fact that the quality of life on outstations is significantly better in terms of both mental and physical health.  Unlike the negative portrayal of Aboriginal communities in the mainstream Australian media, the intention of this film is to show a positive side to a homeland community (in the tradition of Ian Dunlop and the Yirrkala Film Project series) and how living on homelands are a means of maintaining a connection to Country and a unique way of life.

You are welcome to bring your lunch.