“We never had any photos of my family”: Archival return, film, and a personal history

“We never had any photos of my family”: Archival return, film, and a personal history Book Section

Archival Returns: Central Australia and Beyond

  • Author(s): Myers, Fred, Stefanoff, Lisa
  • Secondary Author(s): Barwick, Linda, Green, Jennifer, Vaarzon-Morel, Petronella
  • Published: 2019
  • Publisher: University of Hawai’i Press & Sydney University Press

Abstract: The film Remembering Yayayi emerged from a project to return raw 16mm film footage shot in 1974 at the early Pintupi outstation of Yayayi, near Papunya, by filmmaker Ian Dunlop, with Fred Myers as translator and consultant. Two subsequent remote Pintupi communities, Kintore and Kiwirrkura, were involved in the footage’s return. The material had not been available for research (or other) purposes until 2005, when VHS copies were made from the workprint deposited in the National Archives of Australia. In 2006, Myers and Stefanoff took this rare historical visual material in Pintupi language to Kintore and Kiwirrkura, showing it to individuals and family groups and holding community screenings. Responses were overwhelmingly positive. The tapes quickly became regular entertainment for patients undergoing lengthy renal dialysis sessions and Myers received multiple requests for copies. Over several years, one of Myers’ long-term Pintupi friends, Marlene Spencer Nampitjinpa, came to provide a moving personal commentary on the footage, enabling a feature documentary to be produced from it. This chapter draws on a conversation between Stefanoff and Myers to reflect on how the repatriation project became a catalyst for memory and produced new Pintupi community historical knowledge, particularly about outstation life, early efforts at developing local forms of self-determination and the transformation of lives and wellbeing over a 40-year period.

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Suggested Citation
Myers, Fred, Stefanoff, Lisa, 2019, “We never had any photos of my family”: Archival return, film, and a personal history, Book Section, viewed 04 April 2020, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=16466.

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