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Fred and Ned Grant

Fred and Ned Grant are senior lawmen from Spinifex country and part of the Spinifex Arts Project. They were born in the desert in the middle of last century and lived their early life the traditional semi-nomadic way on the bright red earth of Spinifex. They played and hunted under vast deep blue skies that were endlessly filled with stars at night.

Ned Grant

They grew up on the land learning desert life and it's lore, becoming apprentices to its spiritual secrets in adolescence and travelling to their ancestral initiation ground on a 170km rite of passage. It was at this time that their lives, and that of their people, would be changed forever. On their travels, they encountered the British Governments atomic testing ground next to their sacred site.

When they returned to their people they discovered that they were to be removed from their lands and relocated to Cundeelee. After 50,000 years in the desert, it was emptied of Aboriginal life within a decade. 700 atomic tests were conducted at this site, 6 atomic bombs were detonated, their lands now poisoned. 313 people were transported to Cundeelee, the rest walked the 600 km. One family remained, secluded and alone, it was 30 years until they saw their people again.

Feelings about their new life were complex, some were happy in their new home, religious life thrived at Cundeelee and it became an important centre for traditional practice. Their lore was preserved and strengthened alongside new ways of Christianity introduced at the mission.

Fred Grant

But, despite adapting to life at Cundeelee, the longing to return to their lands remained strong and after 30 years the Spinifex people began to return. This was a 3-year journey visiting sacred sites along the way. They camped at Undirri for two years, before following the religious path of Nyiiyii (desert Finch) and Kipara (bustard) to return to their lands.

50 years after they left, they fought and won the return of their lands, Ned and Fred finally walked on country they could call their own again.

This is the story behind Fred and Ned's art: deep knowledge of their people's religious lore, experience, endurance, exodus, adaptation and the rediscovery of their lands.

These works are on show at our exhibition 'Dreamtime: Australian Aboriginal Art' February 5th - March 1st, Monday - Sunday, 10:00 - 16:00, Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre, Walton on Thames, KT12 2PF. Free entry.

For information and to see more of the works on show please CLICK HERE

Enquires to Nadia Phillips - or 0207 6327579

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