Radio Podcast: Tree of Life
In April 2016, the first Australian sculpture contribution was gifted to Nagasaki Peace Park as a collaborative project involving the Cities of Fremantle, Cockburn and Subiaco (Western Australia) and Yalata Anangu Aboriginal Community from far west South Australia. Yalata is one of several communities deeply affected by nuclear weapons testing carried out at Maralinga and Emu Field in South Australia by the British Government during the 1950s and 60s. The gifted sculpture ‘Tree of Life: Gift of Peace’ originated in Yalata as part of a community arts project via the Nuclear Futures program which uses creative arts to explore the legacies of Australia’s atomic test history. The project was supported by Alphaville arts company, Mayors for Peace Australia, and Australia Council for the Arts.
Attending the official sculpture gifting in Nagasaki, Japan, were Anangu Aboriginal delegates, Mayors for Peace representatives, and members of the Nuclear Futures creative team. The visit enabled connections between international atomic survivor communities to be made, and created an opportunity for cultural exchange and storytelling by community members and descendants affected by nuclear weapons testing and use. One of the Australian delegates travelling to Japan, representing Mayors for Peace Australia, was radio journalist and peace activist Adrian Glamorgan. During the visit, Adrian recorded the gifting ceremony and interviewed participants during the tour.
Back in Australia, with co-presenter Elizabeth PO’, this insightful 16-minute radio show was produced, featuring the sculpture gifting within the broader international and political context of the movements for, and against, nuclear disarmament. The podcast provides an informative backdrop to President Obama’s recent Hiroshima visit, and also illuminates the role the arts can play in conveying stories from affected communities and for community development. Taken from the podcast is this excerpt from South Australian sculptor John Turpie, Artist in Residence for the Nagasaki sculpture project, reflecting on the role of the arts for exploring and exposing the harmful intergenerational legacies arising from nuclear weapons testing and use:
“I think it’s a fantastic idea to use art because it is open to interpretation and that is a personal thing, it’s not actually a dogma, the viewer interprets the image… you can have a much more enduring thing happening whether its visual or three dimensional, especially with sculpture. There is a really nice saying that Keith Peters said, whose one of the elders of Yalata, ‘wind will blow away ideas but a sculpture will stay forever’…
The ‘Tree of Life’ radio podcast was produced for the ‘Understory’ program, on RTRFM (Western Australia), broadcast on 25th May 2016.