Cultural Residency Recap: Shaping Cultural Identity - 10.10.18

Diploma NAISDA Developing Artist Joan Atkinson

Joan Atkinson is a Diploma Developing Artist who has attended a number of Cultural Residencies during her time at NAISDA.

To Joan, Cultural Residencies are an opportunity for Developing Artists to not only understand the Culture of the Communities they visit, but also learn more about their own cultural identity.

“I’m a Diploma Developing Artist so this was my fourth remote Cultural Residency. Diplomas don’t usually get the opportunity to go to Cultural Residency, so we were lucky to have the opportunity to go again,” said Joan.

Joan says that the Cultural Residency experience can be different for the female and male Developing Artists.

“In Nyinyikay, the boys had their own special business so while they were out, we sat down with the Elders and weaved with them every day.

“We made things like baskets and necklaces. The Elders would share stories with us while we weaved, which was very special,” said Joan.

For Joan, however, the highlight of Cultural Residency is clear.

“I’d say it is when we got the chance to dance. I love the cultural dancing and it connects us more to the land when we get to dance their dances on country.

“It’s a lot harder trying to connect to the dances when you are in a studio compared to when you are on country, dancing on sand,” she continued.

When discussing the significance of the Cultural Residency experience to NAISDA Developing Artists, Joan believes that it’s the opportunity to form meaningful cultural connections.

“A lot of us don’t know much about our own culture because our families are still trying to find out more and our language has been lost,” said Joan.

“To go to Nyinyikay where the culture is so strong, it’s nice to think that our culture could have been like that. It’s an eye-opener to see how they live, it’s quite beautiful,” she concluded.