Bush Mechanics: the exhibition is based on the incredibly popular ABC TV series of the same name. It shows the adoption of the motorcar as an integral part of Aboriginal life in Central Australia. More than just a showcase of bush ingenuity, the show was a documentary-style series with strong elements of comedy, music and magical realism.
The exhibition will show the ingenuity of the bush mechanics in the context of Warlpiri storytelling, music and art and wider issues (motoring and non-motoring) affecting Aboriginal Australians.
At the start of the series, a Warlpiri elder narrates his very first encounter with the motorcar in the Central Desert. What’s this big monster? It must be sleeping ponders young Jack Jakamarra Ross, before running for dear life. When the action returns to the present day, young Warlpiri men are confidently applying makeshift (but very effective) ‘nyurulypa’ – good tricks to keep their cars running. In Australia’s remote centre, where spanners and trolley jacks are few and far between, mulga, spinifex and sand become tools and spare parts.
The National Motor Museum has developed the exhibition in close partnership with Pintubi Anmatjere Warlpiri (PAW) Media, the original producers of the series.