Nawi Symposium 2017

Travelling our waters

Detail from Mudhaw Warul (Sheltered Turtles Behind the Reef) © Billy Missi

The Australian National Maritime Museum will host the second major national symposium on Australia’s Indigenous Watercraft.

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  • The second national gathering of Indigenous watercraft custodians and cultural practitioners

    9 November 2017 

    Nawi 2017 Travelling our Waters will bring together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural educators, historians, curators and collection managers to share and discuss their practicing knowledges of the rivers, oceans and watercraft of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.

    The one day symposium will focus on Indigenous watercraft as a fundamental aspect of our national maritime story, extending the discussions begun five years ago at the first Nawi conference.

    View the program.

    8 November
    Exhibition Opening: Gapu-Monuk Saltwater  

    Symposium attendees are invited to the opening of Gapu-Monuk. This exhibition featuring the landmark bark paintings from the Saltwater Collection tells the significant and stunning story of the Yolŋu people of northeast Arnhem Land and their victorious fight for recognition of Indigenous Sea Rights.

    9 November
    Nawi2017 Symposium

    Sessions will be conducted by speakers, presenters and practitioners on a range of subjects including diversity and design, stories and traditions, imagery, sea rights, art, commemoration, trade and navigation and materials and techniques. 

    Nawi2017 aims to build community collaborations and research to create a national picture of this significant area of Australia’s maritime history. It will bring together watercraft communities and those with a common interest in Indigenous craft and river and seagoing voyages and stories.


    Key presenters include Djambawa Marawili AM, the ceremonial leader of the Madarrpa clan on north-east Arnhem Land and a lead plaintiff in the Blue Mud Bay Case who will talk about art and the sea rights case; Sheldon Thomas a master Ningher canoe builder from Tasmania who will explore Tasmanian craft and practices; and, Jimmy Thaiday and Lynette Griffiths from Erub who will present their Emerat Nar canoe and ghost net projects from the eastern Torres Strait Islands.

    Your hosts at the Australian National Maritime Museum:

    Beau James, Manager Indigenous Programs
    Helen Anu, Project Assistant Indigenous Programs
    Daina Fletcher, Senior Curator
    Stephen Gapps, Curator Environment, Industry and Shipping
    David Payne, Curator Australian Register of Historic Vessels

    Eventbrite - Nawi Symposium 2017: Travelling our waters

    Image above: Detail from Mudhaw Warul (Sheltered Turtles Behind the Reef) © Billy Missi
    Images below: Nawi Conference 2012

    Symposium Sponsor

    University of New South Wales UNSW Sydney logo

    Media Supporter

     National Indigenous Television NITV logo

    Catering Supporter

    Laissez-faire catering logo

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