Monday 22nd June 2015
Antony Hegarty lends voice to Martu resistance to proposed Kintyre uranium mine
SYDNEY: International performer Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnsons) will today join Indigenous Martu artists from the Pilbara and leading environment groups for a media event at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney where ‘Kalyu’, an important Martu painting will be on display.
Kalyu (water) was painted by nine Martu artists to depict the risks the proposed Kintyre uranium mine poses to the regions precious ground and surface water.
After hearing of peoples concerns over uranium mining while staying in the Parngurr community Antony Hegarty and Australian video artist Lynette Wallworth have lent their support to the campaign.
“The painting is our home, our country. It is part of us. Our country, our homelands are under serious threat from uranium mining,” said artist Ngalangka Nola Taylor.
“We need to tell people that those paintings only exist because of our obligation to our country, it is not a choice to look after it, the country is us - we just have to do it”.
The impact of uranium mining at home and its end use overseas places a huge burden on Martu who have expressed that their custodianship includes responsibility for the uranium after it leaves their country.
“Forever that uranium belongs to that place, underground. It’s poison when you dig it up - when it gets exposed. Like a mother carrying a baby.... we are carrying the land, we are that close,” said Martu Traditional Owner Wokka Taylor said Martu Traditional Owner Wokka Taylor.
“We hold our children close, our water close, our food, but mainly our water. We look after our water, our main one Karlamilyi... One way, leave it in the ground forever. Old people are less but we have more young people being born. We have to look after them. We are talking up for country”.
The Kintyre uranium mine proposal gained conditional federal approval in April 2015.The proposed mine needs to provide further detailed management plans and also faces a depressed uranium price. The project owners, Cameco (Canada) and Mitsubishi (Japan) have stated that the mine won’t proceed unless the uranium price effectively doubles.
“My current trip to Australia has been very much motivated by my desire to help the Martu campaign against this uranium mine plan. I was honoured to be welcomed by the Parnngurr community and artists and I want to lend my voice and support to help protect country that is very important to my friends there,” said Antony Hegarty – who has also headlined the Dark Mofo festival in Hobart.
State and national environment groups have also joined the Martu resistance to uranium mining. “Uranium mining is radioactive and risky and directly threatens country and culture,” said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney. “We will be actively supporting the community call to leave it alone and in the ground”.
Martu resettled Parnngurr community in the 1980’s as a protest camp against uranium exploration. The community remains opposed to uranium mining in the area.
“It will remain like that, with no mine. That poison is no good,” said artist Karnu Nancy Taylor. “You can’t reverse what the old people have said. We’re going to stop it”.
Press Conference at Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney
When: 10.30-12 Monday 22nd June
Media contact – to speak to artists
James Norman ACF Media Advisor – 0415 248 768
Mia Pepper CCWA Nuclear Free Campaigner – 0415 380 808
Dave Sweeney ACF Nuclear Free Campaigner – 0408 317 812
Ben Puglisi – Parnngurr Community Co-ordinator – (08) 9176 9009