Eiffel tower and the Maladj spirit
‘I want to tell you about my design, that Eiffel tower one.
This year it was my first time going to Paris. I didn’t know that place, nothing. We travelled around the world to get there, we flew underneath the world in an aeroplane.
Paris was a big, crowded city. They speak a different language there, just like here in Maningrida with all our different languages.
The Bábbarra artists and Ingrid, we were all walking around, like tourists. We went on the boat in the Paris river. There was a film crew taking videos of us. We saw so many beautiful buildings covered with black string (iron balconies) and big statues. We’d never seen things like that before.
I remember when we got off that boat and I looked up and saw that tower. When I first looked up at that tower, it made me happy- it’s so long up into the sky. We walked towards it. I was standing there watching that tower and thinking, ‘wow, first time for me seeing a tower like that’.
Then I was thinking, and I said to myself, when I go back to my own country, I’m going to paint that tower.
We came to Maningrida, I started to draw. I drew that tower from France, but also I drew maladj (stone country orphan spirit), women’s sacred woven mat, fish traps and rolk (insects). I also put round kunngol (clouds) in the design, those circles. That maladj spirit, it’s standing there next to the Eiffel tower, looking at the dancing lights at night. The tower is from Paris, but everything else in my design I took from my mother’s country and my father’s country.
Maybe one day I’ll travel back to France, and take my design with me to show them, all the French mob.’
Janet Marawarr in conversation with Manager Ingrid Johanson, 2020.