Episode 1: The Conquistador, the Warlpiri and the Dog Whisperer

Cecilia Alfonso and Gloria Morales

Cecilia Alfonso’s aristocratic Chilean family cheered when the socialist President Salvador Allende died in a coup led by General Pinochet in 1973. Gloria Morales’ family were indigenous serfs in an undemocratic society that drove her to leave Chile to pursue art conservation. Their tough pragmatism has made Warlukurlangu Art Centre an international success. But can the spirituality of the Warlpiri people survive a ruthless market – and can these two women from opposite ends of the social and political spectrum co-exist, way out in the Australian desert?

This episode was produced for ABC Radio National Earshot. It's presented by Margo Neale and produced by Siobhan McHugh. The sound engineer is Russell Stapleton and Executive Producer is Claudia Taranto.

Listen to Episode 1

Heart of Artness is a radio documentary and podcast project based on 35 oral history interviews recorded by Siobhan McHugh with Aboriginal artists, art centre staff, art dealers, volunteers, activists, curators, critics and others. The series derives from a University of Wollongong research project led by Professor Ian McLean and funded by the Australian Research Council. It examines cross-cultural influences and relationships at three Aboriginal art organisations: Warlukurlangu Art Centre inYuendemu, NT (approx. 280 km north-west of Alice Springs), Buku-Larranggay Mulka Art Centre in Yirrkala, NE Arnhem Land (approx. 700km east of Darwin) and proppaNOW, an artists’ collective in Brisbane.

This series is devised and produced by Siobhan McHugh, Associate Professor in Journalism at the University of Wollongong, in association with art historian Ian McLean, Hugh Ramsay Chair of Contemporary Art at the University of Melbourne, and Margo Neale, Senior Indigenous Curator at the National Museum of Australia and Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University. The oral history collection is proposed for archiving at the National Museum of Australia.

CREDITS: The documentary entitled The Conquistador, the Warlpiri and the Dog Whisperer, was produced for Earshot on ABC Radio National and first broadcast on 14 May 2018. Technical production was by Russell Stapleton and the Executive Producer was Claudia Taranto. The associated podcast series was technically produced by Joshua Craig, Guy Freer and Jason Martin. Production assistance was by Grace Stranger, Chantelle Mayo and Claudia Popowski. Interview transcripts by Quentin Sprague and Lucy Dean.