We’re so excited to share with you the inspirational story of Gutiŋarra, one of only two students in his year level, who completed their Year 12 studies in 2015, and graduated from Yirrkala School in Australia’s Northern Territory.
At just 18 years of age, he’s landed a job with the Buku Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre in its multimedia wing, which the Cotton On Foundation support via our partnership with the Mulka Project (you can read more on this below).
Gutiŋarra is employed as a Project Officer and film maker at the Mulka Project. It’s a popular community hub where young people gather to participate in workshops, learning musical instruments, composing songs, recording music, filming documentaries and managing archival footage of traditional ceremonies and historic events.
The overall objective of the initiative is to sustain and protect Yolŋu cultural knowledge whilst developing employment opportunities, empowerment and cultural heritage services through modern digital means. Gutiŋarra spends most of his working day in the editing suite, cutting together footage captured by him and other members of the Mulka team. Despite being legally deaf since birth, Gutiŋarra has managed to overcome many barriers and is a wonderful example of how education and cultural empowerment can help build resilience and confidence in indigenous youth.
Gutiŋarra’s work as a cameraman takes him out to the Yolŋu homelands where he regularly films cultural ceremonies. He is confident in his approach to work, he is quick to learn new techniques and methods and passionate about creative arts. He has worked on numerous productions already, in his short time at the centre and is a valued member of The Mulka Project. What an amazing feat for this young man, following his dreams and working within the community to preserve cultural heritage and inspire other young people to complete their education too so that they can realise their own dreams!
The Cotton On Foundation’s partnership with Yirrkala Community is an ongoing commitment and we’re excited about our future initiatives in this region. Stay tuned for updates soon on how we’re expanding our projects supporting indigenous youth.
About our Projects in Australia’s Northern Territory:
Home to the Yolngu people, the oldest culture in Australia, Yirrkala is remote community located in Northeast Arnhem Land, in Australia’s Northern Territory. Since 2013, we’ve been working in partnership with Yirrkala, delivering a number of development projects supporting indigenous youth, including the recent expansion of the ‘Buku Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre’.
The Arts Centre, located in the heart of Yirrkala, has become renowned for supporting local Yolngu artists, exhibiting and selling both traditional and contemporary artworks. Along with the popular gallery, there is also a digital media and production department, home to the Mulka Project; which educates and empowers indigenous youth through music and cultural education programs .
The Cotton On Foundation has helped to fund the expansion of this multimedia wing and supports the Mulka Project with state of the art, equipment including instruments, speakers, a mixing deck and acoustic equipment for the locals to use. Working alongside community leaders, our aim is to support initiatives which help create a positive connection to culture and improve educational outcomes for young people.
Check out this short video made by Gutiŋarra, giving an insight into the work he does with the Mulka Project.