Joonba, junba and juju are three names for a specific form of performance driven by narrative from the Kimberley. These song and dance cycles incorporate painting, theatre, story and history and are intrinsic to Aboriginal art and culture across the north of Western Australia. They are learned from childhood and practiced throughout life.
The objects presented in Joonba Junba Juju are cultural documents that are still in use today, these include masks, headdresses, painted dance boards, thread-cross totems, spears, sticks and effigies of animals, characters and other spirit entities. The objects and narratives are at once ephemeral and changing, yet they hold knowledge specific to the languages and country of their genesis. Handcrafted objects that may appear humble often articulate complex narratives that encode constellations of knowledge associated with recent histories, Ngarranggarni (Dreaming), ethics and deeply personal experiences.
In Gija and Miriwoong languages the word is joonba, in Ngarinyin junba and in Bunuba country juju. Working together, singers, dancers, objects and the audience become key to the telling and retelling of story.
Joonba Junba Juju is part of a gradually unfolding project produced by an alliance of four leading Aboriginal-owned art centres in the Kimberley working together as Kimberley Aboriginal Artists (KAA). Over the last four years, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Mowanjum Arts and Culture Centre, Waringarri Aboriginal Arts and Warmun Art Centre have worked together to facilitate the practice and sharing of joonba, junba and juju within and between communities.
Opening Launch and Performances: In the spirit of wirnan, performers from both Kimberley and Sydney will be welcoming this exhibition to UTS at a special opening launch performance event on Tuesday 29 April 6-8pm at UTS Gallery.