NGA x Volley: Walk In Their Shoes

NGA x Volley: Walk In Their Shoes

“You walk [in] my shoes, you’ll be painting all your life. You’ll never stop.”
- John Prince Siddon, Walmajarri People
National Gallery x Volley is an invitation to First Nations artists to illustrate what it is like to ‘walk in their shoes’. Hayley Coulthard, Penangke people, Sandra Saunders, Boandik/Ngarrindjeri and Scottish descent, Jimmy K Thaiday, Tribe Peiudu and John Prince Siddon, Walmajarri people, share stories of their community, cultures and Country through one-off custom designed Volleys.
From depictions of Country to political statements, our First storytellers continue to share their Ancestral knowledge, cultures and realities through many artforms – see what it’s like to walk in their shoes.
National Gallery x Volley is a National Gallery of Australia 40th Anniversary project.

Sandra Saunders

Boandik/Ngarrindjeri and Scottish descent

“My Volley shoes is a story about the history of Australia. More than 50,000 years ago Aboriginal people lived all over the country having their own clan groups, land, traditions, customs and languages. They hunted and gathered looking after the land, water, animals and environment. In 1788 Captain Cook invaded Australia claiming the land for England. In 2017 [the Uluru] Statement from the Heart was written and presented to the Australian government. The statement is to give Aboriginal people a voice in the Australian constitution, a treaty for Aboriginal people.” - Sandra.

John Prince Siddon

Walmajarri people

“You walk [in] my shoes, you’ll be painting all your life. You’ll never stop. The shoes tell you about, the first one, the design of lizard and swan. Makes me think about water story. Second one is spider, Purlkartu. They can do any web design.” – John.

Hayley Coulthard

Western Arrarnta / Penangke people

Ikarlaantja (Hawk)

“This is the MacDonnell Ranges, that big blue mountain is Mount Sonder, Rrutjupma. All the tourists go and take a picture of that big rock. From my family’s outstation, I can see that mountain. Early morning and every day. Sometimes I go and stay there for the weekend and I get a piece of paper and pencil and draw that mountain from my outstation. The hawk, irrkarlaantja, up in the sky he goes round and round looking for goanna, lizard. When I’m looking at the mountain I see irrkarlaantja and elintja, galah, and all the other birds.” – Hayley.

“This is my country Urrampinyi, that’s old Tempe Downs station, a little cattle station. That’s a old place, my Grandfather was working there a long time ago. We used to go and visit that place every holiday. We have to drive down the south road to get there, or drive Four Wheel Drive up the Finke River, up the middle of the creek. We go to that water place Ilarrara Spring. It's a waterhole west of Urrampinyi (Tempe Downs). We go and camp there down.” – Hayley.

Jimmy K Thaiday

Tribe Peiudu

“The designs on the shoes are about the stories I’ve been inspired by in my artistic practice. It tells of how my people lived before Christianity influence. We had cultural traditions, beliefs and rituals associated with our livelihood. The shoe depicts motifs of the stories of these cultural traditions, beliefs and rituals.” – Jimmy.

Banner: Sandra Saunders working on Volley Shoes, 2022, image by Robert Lang.

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