Interweaving Voices Series: Ampiji Rainbow Serpent


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this video may contain images and voices of those who have passed away.

Ampiji, the Rainbow Serpent, is a Dreaming that is passed down the generations, a warning of when it is safe to swim in the waterholes. Calista Kantilla, Tiwi Elder and songwoman, shares her story about the generational transmission of medical and environmental knowledge through songs. The accompanying video piece was created for the Canberra International Music Festival and presented in the National Gallery in May 2021.

This is the third video in the Sydney Environment Institute’s Interweaving Voices series, by musicologist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Genevieve Campbell. The series unearths archival recordings of Ayipa songs from the Tiwi Islands – which are themselves ever-evolving recordings of history, culture, celebration, and loss.

Read Accompanying Article

Spoken by Calista Kantilla
Ampiji painting – Maggie Timapaetua
Percussion soundscape – Josephine Press
Photographs and visuals – Genevieve Campbell

Images of Wulurangku, Yimpinari, Mantiupi and Tikilaru Country (included with permission of Traditional Owners)

Filmed in a performance with Regina Kantilla, Augusta Punguatji, Katrina Mungatopi, Gemma Munkara, Frances Therese Portaminni and John Louis Munkara at the National Gallery of Australia for Canberra International Music Festival 2021.

© Ngarukuruwala 2021