Antony Hegarty has announced that she will be donating funds from her Dark Mofo performance fee to the Conservation Council of West Australia, inspired by her concerns for the future and wellbeing of the Aboriginal Martu community in Parnngurr, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
In late 2013, the British-born, New York-based singer and visual artist spent ten days with Martu artists and elders in the Parnngurr community in the Pilbara region, in collaboration with Sydney-based media artist Lynette Wallworth, creating artwork and multimedia footage for an installation at the Adelaide Biennial last year.
“It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life,” Antony said. “The wisdom and radiance of these people is humbling. Their knowledge and stewardship of their homelands is one of Australia's most precious living assets. Parnngurr is located near a site that the Canadian multinational company Cameco and Japanese company Mitsubishi wish to exploit for uranium. This could have devastating consequences on the region. The Martu have always known of the uranium at Kintyre; they have spoken of it for generations in their storytelling as something dangerous that should be left undisturbed.”
The Conservation Council of Western Australia asserts that the proposed uranium mine at Kintyre – approved by the West Australian government this week - poses a threat to the integrity of West Australia’s largest National Park, its surrounding communities, the Karlamilyi watershed, and a number of threatened and endangered species.
“Outcry from around the world and from cultural figures can only help,” said Antony, who will join Indigenous Martu artists from the Pilbara and leading environment groups for a press conference at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney on Monday 22 June morning where ‘Kalyu’, an important Martu painting will be on display.
‘Kalyu’ was painted by nine Martu artists to depict the risks that a proposed uranium mine poses to the regions precious ground and surface water. At the conference, Martu elders and artists will discuss the significance of their painting ‘Kalyu’, a large-scale work that shows the interconnected underground waterways of their homelands. The Martu will discuss the threat that uranium mining at Kantyre poses to the region, and their commitment to stop it proceeding.
Antony and the Johnsons will perform with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in two Australian exclusive performances for Dark Mofo 2015 at Hobart’s historic Odeon Theatre in Tasmania, on Tuesday 16 June and Wednesday 17 June, 2015.