luwa tara luwa waypa: three kangaroos three Tasmanian men by Dave mangenner Gough, illustrated by Samantha Campbell
Dave mangenner Gough is a proud trawlwoolway man – descended from Bungana (chief) manalargenna’s oldest daughter woretemoeteyenner of north-east Tasmania. Dave has strong personal connection to lutruwita Tasmania and its people.
Dave is an artist, curator and cultural practitioner. His picture book luwa tara luwa waypa is intended for children aged from 7 years through to young adults and is published by Aboriginal Studies Press.
Samantha Campbell, illustrator of luwa tara luwa waypa, is descended from the Dagoman people from Katherine and has also illustrated Alfred’s War (Rachel Bin Salleh), Aunty’s Wedding (Miranda Tapsell and Joshua Tyler), Brother Moon (Maree McCarthy Yoelu) and Freedom Day (Rosie Smiler and Thomas Mayor).
luwa tara luwa waypa is ground-breaking. It portrays protagonist niyakara who, preparing to hunt kangaroo, hopes to see tuminana, the chief’s daughter, before he leaves. He realises that he shouldn’t be watching the women but is too shy to approach them. While wondering what to do, he hears three thuds on the ground. They appear to come from three warriors but all may be not what it seems in this tale that has also been performed as part of mapali dawn gathering to launch the Tasmanian Ten Days on the Island arts festival. The performance was written, directed and produced by author Dave mangenner Gough. luwa tara luwa waypa, the book, is a significant part of what has become a multi-modal work.
Interview with Dave mangenner Gough
Thank you for speaking to ‘Joy in Books’ at PaperbarkWords, Dave.
Your bio says that you are ‘dedicated to practising and demonstrating Tasmanian Aboriginal culture for all Australian people, to bring communities together and preserve our traditional culture’. You certainly show this in your book luwa tara luwa waypa. Could you briefly tell us about something that you do to help achieve your aim?
I’m involved in museums, art galleries, schools and universities in cultural workshop presentations, education and performance.
What do you love about Tasmania and where in Tasmania is this story set?
Tasmania trowunna lutruwita is my ancestral country that I love, honour and protect all I can. The story isn’t based in one particular place but all over our country.
The palawa (Tasmanian language words) are an integral part of the text. Why are they written in lower case?
I just preferred to use lowercase maybe because they’re more easily identified as Aboriginal words then.
Samantha Campbell’s illustrations are lucid and form a wonderful sense of the space, character, action and atmosphere that you create with your words. Could you please choose one illustration that evokes one of these and briefly explain what is appealing or ‘right’ about it for you?
They’re all beautiful and very difficult to choose from, but I do feel the transformation from man to kangaroo is very powerful.
How involved were you in collaborating with Samantha or was she given your written text to illustrate without further input from you?
We worked closely on the context and content in the drawings as they are representative of our ancestors and my family today. I’m so honoured and blessed to have worked on them with Samantha as she really got it. Her illustrations not only bring it to life, they are magical.
As an artist, why didn’t you illustrate this book yourself?
I’m not an illustrator and not good at drawing.
Please tell us more about your art.
I’m a cultural maker and a multi medium installation artist curator and performative writer and producer.
Will there be another performance of luwa tara luwa waypa and, if so, when and where?
I’m sure there will be in the future.
Who have you written this story for and what impact do you hope luwa tara luwa waypa leaves on your readers?
I’ve written this story for my family, my country and in honour of my ancestors for all people to enjoy reading alone or reading with family and children in class.
What have you been reading that you would like to recommend?
There are more and more fantastic Aboriginal stories being written. I encourage everyone to embrace and support them to continue to add Aboriginal culture to your lives.
How can your readers contact you?
Many people make contact and I try to get back to them but it is all consuming. People can try through social media and I will try my best to respond but please understand it’s very difficult.
Thanks for your responses, Dave. I am so pleased to have this opportunity to hear more about luwa tara luwa waypa from you. All the very best with this book and your other work.
My pleasure thank you, DmG
luwa tara luwa waypa at AIATSIS (with a link to Dave mangenner Gough reading luwa tara luwa waypa