World renowned author, poet and Gunai woman Kirli Saunders will present a special reading as part of the International Year of Indigenous Languages at Artbank’s Sydney premises on 9 October 2019.

4 October 2019

Kirli will read poetry from her collection, Kindred, at Artbank’s exhibition Tjungu Palyangku Tjukurpa titutjara kuṉpu ngaranytja-ku I As we come together we stand strong for our story which is open until 8 November.

The exhibition brings together artists from the Tjungu Palyu Art Centre in Nyapari, South Australia to harness the power of video and painting to share Tjukurpa (stories) in their language, Pitjantjatjara.

Kirli developed Poetry in First Languages (PIFL), delivered by Red Room Poetry which has provided poetry and language workshops for thousands of students and community members across NSW, NT and ACT.

The workshops support First Nations students in creating and publishing poetry in first languages by connecting them to First Nations poets, Elders and Language Custodians on Country.

PIFL celebrates, shares and preserves knowledge of First Nations languages and culture through poetry, music, dance and art. The project aims to empower pride in cultural identity resulting in enhanced wellbeing overall.

Research by Bailey and Yang found that for 94% of participants, PIFL was their first opportunity to learn language taught by Community on Country.

Kirli says: ‘It’s a privilege and honor to work across multiple communities to support our young people to be culturally strong and connected. Seeing them mouth new words for the first time, and find confidence in themselves in dance, writing and carrying language and culture is so special!’

Kirli has recently shortlisted for the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for her children’s book, The Incredible Freedom Machines. She has four forthcoming titles, with Magabala, Scholastic and Hardie Grant.

Photo credit: PIFL Gadigal workshops, © Tad Souden 2018, for Red Room Poetry

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