Australia-ASEAN 40th anniversary recognised by Australian Parliament
The Australian Parliament has donated an Indigenous artwork to the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the partnership between Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly promotes cooperation between the parliaments of ASEAN member states. The Australian Parliament sends delegates to the Assembly each year to participate in a dialogue between parliamentarians from ASEAN and their partner countries in the region.
To recognise the links between the Australian Parliament and ASEAN Parliaments, Senate President John Hogg and House of Representatives Speaker Bronwyn Bishop agreed to the gifting of an artwork titled Wandjina Rainmaker by Indigenous artist Lily Karadada from the Kimberley region of Australia. She is recognised as the last of the great Wandjina painters.
“The Australian Parliament values highly its engagement with ASEAN Member Parliaments through the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly and this artwork appropriately recognises the strong bonds of friendship that exist between our Parliaments,” the President of the Senate and Speaker said in a joint statement.
The artwork depicts the Wandjina spirit figure, which is the embodiment of the rain spirit and ancestor of the Wonnambal, Ngarinyin and Worrora peoples of the North West Kimberley. Wandjina figures are seen decorating the walls of caves in the plateau areas along the North Kimberley coast and are unique to this region.
Dreamtime mythology has it that the Wandjina emerged from the clouds and will return in that form. The Wandjina can be seen in the passing of the dry season to the 'wet' in the form of vast billowing white clouds. During that time in the top end, the long, hot build-up of heat and humidity will break and once again the rain cycle will commence. The figure represents not only rebirth and growth, but also the cruelty of the storm and flood. It is regarded as a fertility spirit and as a powerful and wise leader.
The artwork is being presented to the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly secretariat located in Jakarta, Indonesia by Australia’s Ambassador to ASEAN Simon Merrifield. The artwork will hang in the foyer of the Assembly headquarters.
Senate President John Hogg and House of Representatives Speaker Bronwyn Bishop with the artwork titled Wandjina Rainmaker by Indigenous artist Lily Karadada