Yurtu Ardla is a Ku Arts project initiated by a group of Nukunu and Adnyamathanha men. Yurtu Ardla is a celebration of the continuity of Adnyamathanha wood carving practice, and the revitalisation of Nukunu wood carving practice.
Yurtu (Nukunu) and Ardla (Adnyamathanha) are the words for ‘wood’ in each respective language.
The project began in 2015 with a series of wood carving workshops in Port Augusta, South Australia, initiated and supported by Ku Arts and led by master Adnyamathanha carver and language speaker, Uncle Roy Coulthard.
In early 2017, a group of participants visited the South Australian Museum collection to view artefacts from their ancestors, which have informed their carving practices and has in turn informed the collection.
In 2018, Ku Arts coordinated two carving camps on both Nukunu and Adnyamathanha country. The camps included language workshops supported by the Mobile Language Team, and the study of objects made by direct ancestors of the Adnyamathanha and Nukunu participants in partnership with South Australian Museum.
Through making tools and studying language, Adnyamathanha and Nukunu men were able to deepen their understanding of the way their ancestors made life and interacted with the environment. Through sharing skills and knowledge, the men of the neighboring language groups have not only produced important artistic works but have deepened friendships that will help to keep Adnyamathanha and Nukunu carving practice strong.
Adyamathanha and Nukunu men are proud to share this experience with Gumbaynggir man, Troy Dargan.
The Yurtu Ardla project has been documented over two years by filmmaker and photographer, Dave Laslett.