Renaissance Men in the Desert
One day two brothers woke up and decided to really do something that would make their elders proud and at the same time create jobs for themselves but they had no idea how successful their enterprise would become. Such is the power of overcoming boredom and finding inspiration through culture!
Stefan Smith and his brother Shannon are Eastern Arrernte men from Ltyentye Apurte which is about an hour out of Alice Springs. They grew up in the little community on the edge of the Simpson Desert and feel deeply connected to country and culture.
The traditional knowledge of their old people is fast disappearing so the men’s main inspiration was to capture some of the old ways and at the same time create a business. They were encouraged and inspired by the local Keringke Art Centre Manager Bryce Hartnett. The men began by asking their elders to draw pictures of the wooden tools and weapons that the old people used to make. And they also asked them the language names and which trees to use. Then they set to work making their first tools.
The men have created a genuinely warm and inviting space in the middle of town where they work under a shady tree and sell their work from an old tin shed which used to be the butcher shop.It wasn’t long before they were perfecting coolamons, boomerangs, shields and clap sticks. Now the school children are coming down learning culture and spending quality time with these inspirational men.
Next year their goal is to set up an online store and improve their workspace with more tools and maybe have a proper woodwork shop with ventilation. Once they expand and get their name out there demand will no doubt outstrip supply.
If you’re after a genuine piece of cultural art handcrafted by these inspiring Eastern Arrernte men, whose ancestors have been living and thriving in the desert for 3000+ generations, now is the time to invest… before the word gets out!
Get in now before everything goes online next year by phoning Georga at the Atyenhenge Atherre Aboriginal Corporation who will send you pics and prices. Expect great service, very reasonable prices and iconic cultural items that will certainly become family heirlooms passed down through generations!
t 08 89 560624