From the curator
The work of Warwick Thornton draws from his acclaimed career as a cinematographer and award-winning film director. In this six-channel video work, Warwick filmed the powerful and revered Ngangkari healers of his community and connected them with Star Wars Jedi power. Seeing Star Wars in 1979, Warwick Thornton recalls that he was instantly captured by the fantasy it presented and the power of the Jedi. Making the correlation between the power of the Jedi and the power of the healers of his country this work shares a contemporary take on thousands of years of Ngangkari practice.
“In my family we have Jedi, They are not called that; they are called Ngangkari, men and women with special powers that can be used for good or evil. The power to heal and the power to kill. They are recognised at birth and taught the ways of the Ngangkari. They are medicine men and women, but on a more spiritual and astral plane. At that time, two of my Uncles were esteemed Ngangkari's, healing the sick, fighting evil, travelling hundreds of kilometres through the desert… So at this age, the way of the Jedi, or the Ngangkari, was, for me, a reality. Thanks George Lucas. Each of these animations connects together some of the key motifs of twentieth-century popular culture and Aboriginal culture.”
This work is on 6 separate screens which are around 180 cm tall and 80 cm wide. Each screen features a different Ngangkari healer, some are holding glowing boomerangs, spears and clubs they glow in a purple colour. They are in the desert and there is a stary night sky. Some have the glow of a fire moving in front of them. They are dressed as Jedi Warriors in white outfits and brown robes. One of the Ngankari healers is elevating in the air above a fire which has green flames. There is a soft sound of a crackling fire.
Way of the Ngangkari (2015)
Warwick Thornton (Kaytej)
Artist Gallery | Anna Schwartz Gallery