Remembering Yayayi

A close-up of the face of aboriginal woman Marlene Nampitjinpa, resting her chin and cheek in her hand.

Pip Deveson, Ian Dunlop, and Fred Myers
2014 | 57 min | Australia
U.S. Premiere | Directors in Attendance

In this riveting documentary, charismatic Australian Aboriginal elder Marlene Nampitjinpa reflects on her remarkable history, as she watches rare archival material of her Pintupi childhood from the 1970s, in conversation with anthropologist Fred Myers who she has known since she was a girl.  With film footage shot by filmmaker Ian Dunlop at the remote Aboriginal outstation of Yayayi on the cusp of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act of 1976, Remembering Yayayi shows the value that such work has for contemporary Indigenous people who have few records of their history.

Plays with Buckskin

Preceded by the Mead Mixer, a daily happy hour in Cafe on One from 6-7:30 pm

Co-presented by Australian Consulate-General, New York University Center for Media, Culture, and History

Past Forward, My Perspective

How do people engage their past through newly available technologies of recording and archives? In Remembering Yayayi, we see the not so distant past of Pintupi Aboriginal people as it is interpreted in the present by the charismatic elder Marlene Nampitjinpa, who the anthropologist Fred Myers (her interlocutor) has known since she was a girl. As Marlene says to the filmmakers, “I had never seen any movies before with my family.”  The conversation with Marlene, as we watch the old footage along with her, allows the viewer to learn something of how she relates images of her past to her present circumstances.  In this way, Remembering Yayayi shows the value that such rare archival material has for contemporary Indigenous people who have few other visual or written records of their history, provoking a poignant mixture of pleasure and sadness in encountering images of their past.  Contradictory feelings sit alongside each other: nostalgia with feelings of loss; an admiration for the strength of the old people with an acknowledgement of incipient problems brought on by contact with Euro-Australian society that people continue to face.

- Fred Myers | Director, Remembering Yayayi