The Art of Healing: Emu

The Art of Healing: Emu
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
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Agnes Palmer and Cait Wait, the project coordinator, give background on the establishment of the women’s art project. Summary by Romaine Moreton.

The Aboriginal women involved in this project effectively straddle two realities – one of the Christian faith and the other the Indigenous faith. The two religions come together in their interpretation of the Bible, and the way the project was conceived and carried out ensured a responsibility to both Indigenous and Western religious beliefs. Here we see the women outdoors getting familiar with colours, textures and shades, and being in close connection with the land. This sets up the possibility of bringing the land ‘out there’ into the interior of the church, making it the land ‘in here’, so to speak. 


The Art of Healing synopsis

A documentary about an Arrernte woman Agnes Palmer, and her vision of painting the walls of the Santa Teresa church in Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa), an Aboriginal community one hour south of Alice Springs.

The Art of Healing is part of the Nganampa Anwernekenhe series produced by Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) Productions. Nganampa Anwernekenhe means 'ours’ in the Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte lanuages, and the series aims to contribute to the preservation of Indigenous languages and cultures.


The Art of Healing curator's notes

A beautifully told story about the vision of Arrernte woman Agnes Palmer, and how her vision of telling the biblical story with Aboriginal characters became a reality. The film itself tells of the interpretation of a traditional Western text (the Bible) through Indigenous expression. It is expressed in filmic terms through the fusion of colours, shapes and texture in that the Aboriginal artists directly inspired by their environment literally use Western space (the church) as the canvas and through their interpretation bring the Dreaming alive through the telling of biblical stories.

Notes by Romaine Moreton

Production company:
CAAMA Productions
Executive Producer:
Jacqui North
Series producer:
Rachel Clements
Robyn Nardoo
Robyn Nardoo