Scale Free Network is honoured to have spent the last 6 weeks working with and learning from Gurindji elders, artists, knowledge keepers, rangers, language workers and students and as part of this termite-inspired project.

Tamarra: Gurindji Termite Project brings together Aboriginal and Western perspectives of termites through art-making, story-telling, field research, microbiology, ecology, cultural practice, bush medicine, educational workshops and dialogue.

Scale Free Network are spear-heading the research and development of a children’s picture book about the Spinifex termites (called munkurt in Gurindji) which build mounds (called tamarra) across much of the Spinifex grasslands of Australia. Keeping in theme with our Small Friends Books series, this picture book will also feature some of the amazing bacteria found in the gut of these important-but-overlooked termites!

We’re lucky to be working closely with amazing collaborators: Penny Smith from Karungkarni Art & Prof. Felicity Meakins from the School of Languages and Culture at the University of QLD…who have both been working with the Gurindji community for over a decade.

The Gurindji people are based in remote Northern Territory, and are most famous for leading the Wavehill Walkoff in 1966, the start of Australia’s Land Rights movement…which Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody summed up beautifully in their iconic song, From Little Things, Big Things Grow.

If you’re keen to learn more about this important piece of Australian history, the film The Unlucky Australians is available to watch on YouTube.

Scale Free Network’s participation in this project is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Date: June 2021
Location: Kalkarindji, Gurindji Country, NT, Australia