Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I apply?

I told them about how I came from Australia and I’m bringing connections to Taiwan, language and culture, everything … We keep our culture strong because we have many young children that need to … hold onto our traditional culture … every song comes from old people; they pass it on.

Bobby Bununngurr, 2019 Northern Territory Indigenous Arts in Resident

As an artist I’ve grown so much. Before I wasn’t confident enough to start my own company but now with the support and advice from family, Artback NT and many other professionals I actually took the leap and did it. I’m so excited to now be in a position to support other artists and offer pathways that do not otherwise exist here in Arnhem Land.

Rachael Wallis, 2018 Northern Territory Indigenous Arts in Resident

How can I get help with applying?

If you would like some help, think about who you might choose as an assistant to go with. See if they can help you to put your application together.

It is important to ensure that your support material is of a high standard. We recognise some artists have the support of Art Centre’s and Record Labels and therefore have plenty of resources to choose from. Keep this in mind so that your application is competitive.

It’s a good idea to reach out to different community and arts organisations to see what advise they can offer. Support letters can be helpful too.

For more information and to find the application form click here 

Who should I go with?

We can support your time in Taiwan by sending someone familiar to go with you as an assistant. Sometimes being far from home where everyone speaks a different language can be a little daunting. We want to make sure you’re not alone so you can enjoy the experience and not get home sick. It is a good idea to travel with someone who knows you and the work you do. This will help you to make the most of your trip.

Where will I stay?

You will be based in the community of Rinari, Pingtung County, South Taiwan. There is a beautiful home that you and your assistant or companion will have to yourselves with a café across the road and friendly neighbours.

Driving up to Rinari was really amazing because you have to drive up the side of the mountain and we’re just looking … big eyed – ‘wow is this where we are going’? In Rinari you are kind of on a plateau on top of a mountain – you drive up one side and there’s the village but then you look into the distance and there’s massive mountains all around. In the village you can see that all the locals have vegetable gardens growing – they all have plots for their own gardens. It’s really slow paced.

Rachael Wallis, 2018 Northern Territory Indigenous Arts in Resident

What language do they speak in Taiwan?

Our neighbour was speaking English well, but they were still speaking their language. A little bit but not much, you know?

If you don’t understand my language, you can still feel the spirit of my culture and message, which is something that I work hard at, making music and drawing you into my story.

Bobby Bununngurr, 2019 Northern Territory Indigenous Arts in Resident

The national language spoken in Taiwan is Mandarin. The sixteen Indigenous tribes of Taiwan have varying languages. The Taiwan Indigenous People’s Cultural Development Centre provide a translator for the duration of your stay. The translator will go above and beyond to help you out, assist with making connections and the building of creative relationships. The Taiwanese are generally a little bit familiar with English and are very helpful and friendly no matter what language you speak.

Six weeks seems too long to be away from home.

I had to call on ancestors so I could be surrounded by family and that they were there with me – so it felt like home … The friends and connections I’ve made with artists in Taiwan are invaluable to me and my community. We have many plans to collaborate in the future. Working and creating with Taiwanese First Nations people truly inspired me and gave me a deeper understanding of not only other Nations cultures but the value and importance of my own culture and family.

Rachael Wallis, 2018 Northern Territory Indigenous Arts in Resident

We [Yolngu people] can travel … If we don’t stand up and keep that traditional music, hold it with our two hands, we’re killing that part of our history’s story from the old people … If you can own this, your lore, your history from grandfather, and grand, grand, grandfather … [you can] keep your mind strong wherever you go in the world. [In Taiwan] show them Yolngu culture … the way we keep our culture strong forever and don’t forget it.

Bobby Bununngurr, 2019 Northern Territory Indigenous Arts in Resident

What will I do there?

I showed them artwork, my painting. I told all the children to join me, I said to them, draw with me. And I drew with them a crocodile and a magpie and I told them, this is a part of my song and my story, this one … I showed people around the bark paintings by Old People that are from Northern Territory [Old Masters exhibition]. I told them about how this is artwork from around Ramingining … We show them how we are holding onto our traditional culture, everything because every song comes from old people, they passed it on. And that’s what we bring them and we record it [song], we can [then take it home and] play it to our people.

Bobby Bununngurr, 2019 Northern Territory Indigenous Arts in Resident

Rinari is renowned for great artists and everyone said that to me – across the country different people would say to me oh wow Rinari you have a lot of talented artists there.

Rachael Wallis, 2018 Northern Territory Indigenous Arts in Resident

Will I experience different food and culture?

They [Indigenous Taiwanese] belong to their country, they know their country and they know how they hunt. But they have such high hills, mountains … It’s not like that in my country. Language is different, I don’t understand. But their cooking is nice in a natural way. And in my country we roasted everything, fish or something like kangaroo, wallaby, we roast in special way too like them, you know? Yeah, all the people we met them and they were calling us, inviting us for a party … When they go and hunt in Rinari they have to go to the hunting grounds … The old people we met them and they were telling us about that. I got a necklace with a boar tooth on it [from them] too.

Yeah, and we had to do it their way because they said “you’re joining us for the wedding!” … And we had to carry a short knife and a pig … We said “yeah! Yeah!” and they gave us, like, a costume and said “this is when we will have good food, and that pig … and more food, everything today, steak, then chicken, oh!” then I had to say “I’m finished, I’m too full” and then more fish, everything, this is happening!

Bobby Bununngurr, 2019 Northern Territory Indigenous Arts in Resident

When can I go?

This incredible six-week immersion into Taiwan First Nations culture can happen any time from May to November, 2020. We recommend being there during November so that you can enjoy the Amis Festival, a celebration of culture with all of Taiwan’s sixteen Indigenous tribes on the Mountains by the ocean.

Yo! 5,000 people [at the Amis Festival] and then Allen turned and said, “Hey, what are we going to do? This is a crowd! It’s you and me, you know.” I said, “Don’t worry about it. I stand later and give them a song, you know, strong.” The crowd said “Whoa!” and everyone got up and danced. Like Bungul. Yeah.

Bobby Bununngurr, 2019 Northern Territory Indigenous Arts in Resident