A KOODJAL Djookana Exhibition, initiated by a conversation between the Winmar sisters in an effort to reconnect with their own creativity and to dedicate and acknowledge their Elders, will be held next month. A collection of original artworks Koodjal Djookana – Two Sisters – will be exhibited within The Backlot Perth’s cinema space accompanied by projections on screen.
Proud Noongar woman Alta Winmar, (Balladong/Menang/Koreng) has created the art exhibition with her sister Dallas.
“Art has always been something that I have wanted to explore and I have had the opportunity to work with arts and culture in many of my employment positions,” Alta said.
She said she saw herself as more of an art facilitator and has worked with many programs that look at art as a vehicle to heal, giving her opportunities to work with children of all ages – mum’s and bubs and families.
“This path has allowed me to meet people from all over the world in both the private and public sectors and this exhibition for me is quite healing. It’s about being creative, telling a story. Art is an interpretation of the many facets of self and how one sees things,” she said.
Her sister Dallas Winmar (Yettung) said she was also proud of her heritage and where she and her sister have come from, and said her art connection had been mainly honing her writing skills and putting painting on the backburner.
Dallas is mostly recognised as a playwright, with a number of her plays already making it to the stage, with ‘Yirra Yaakin’ in Perth, ‘Company B”– Belvoir Street’ in Sydney, and ‘Kooemba Jdarra’ in Brisbane and Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre.
“Two of my plays have won the Kate Challis RAKA award. Getting to paint and be creative, has been a different way to express myself and be hands on. I am grateful for the opportunity to show another part of myself,” Dallas said.
The sisters were born in the Perth Metropolitan region in July 1964, and their family links connect them to a wide area of the South-West.
Being the second and third born siblings of five, their father Cecil Winmar was born at Badjaling Mission near Quairading in the Wheatbelt east of York, while their mother Roma was born in Gnowangerup near Albany.
During their younger years the sisters lived in many different places in around the southwest and metropolitan areas because of their father following the work on different farms and such, to ensure the family were looked after.
“We got to see a lot of beautiful places. Finally, we settled in Armadale to complete primary school, high school and then move forward into the work arena,” Dallas said.
“Creativity has encompassed us all our lives, as children using our imagination, playing, exploring, and observing everything.
“A highlight would be as a family to watch the sunsets together. On hot nights, we would lay on the ground and look up at the stars, and see who could spot the satellites.
“Our culture was strengthened by yarning, and listening to stories of our Elders, passing them on, and keeping them alive.
“We would watch our mum as she painted her watercolour landscapes and grew up having an appreciation of the landscape, the waterways, and the sky.
“We were always shown to look at the beauty in all things.”
Dallas said as twins’ people would often try to look at their differences and similarities, yet they have always been brought up as unique individuals.
“Even though we have embarked on different paths, we have always been drawn back to arts and community.
“Now finally, we come together as one, to share our creative works and hope that people are inspired in some way.”
The sisters have dedicated the exhibition to their Elders who they acknowledge as truly amazing, strong, resilient, and beautiful people.
“Never give up and never stop dreaming!”
The public exhibition runs from 3pm to 6pm on Saturday, July 8 at the Backlot, 21 Simpson Street, West Perth.