Today I went to work with Laura!
We drive up and they wave and smile at Laura, happy to see her. They have their beds outside all huddled around yesterdays fire. At first this strikes me as strange. They talk to each other in Pinjari as Laura trys to explain we are friends who grew up together and my name is Sally.
I help Laura make tea and porridge for everyone and begin distributing it. The ladies smile at me warmly and talk to me in Pinjari. I nod and smile, not understanding a word. I sweep up and help Laura hang out some washing. One of the Ladies call her by her skin name "nunguri", and Laura manages to work out she has a pain in her eye and wants eye drops. Laura tells me "picca" means pain and "you-a" means yes.
After cooking lunch, Laura says we have time to sit and chat to some of the ladies. We walk over to Mrs.Bennet who whispers to Laura in Pinjari, telling her a story. I would love to have understood and Laura doesn't either, but nods and smiles.
Next we sort out the photos. Kit, one of the gallery owners works there too. He mixes their paints and hands out the canvas. He regularly takes photos of the artist as they paint to prove their authenticity. Laura and I sit on the offic floor and put the photos in order.
The paintings are amazing! Laura explains some bits of the paintings and their meanings to me. They paint form a birdseye view of the land. They dont sketch, as they have walked it, from one waterhole to the next for miles, they know the intimately.
These people are the last Aboriginies who lived of the land in the desert. They are around forty to sixty and once they are gone, their stories and ways will be gone. The only way their stories will survive are through people like Laura, and now me.
I am completely in love with this place.