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Dr Matilda House and Paul Girrawah House
Mulanggari yur-wang (alive and strong)

Creation date: 2021–22 Location: Sculpture Garden
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Dr Matilda House and Paul Girrawah House, Ngambri (Walgalu) – Wallaballooa (Ngunnawal) – Pajong (Gundungurra) – (Erambie) Wiradjuri peoples, Mulanggari yur-wang (alive and strong), 2021–22, commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia, Ngambri/Kamberri/Canberra for the 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony. Purchased 2021.

Artist Paul Girrawah House on Mulanggari yur-wang (alive and strong)

Trees are important to Ngambri Country, people and way of life.

Trees are generous.

Trees are our relatives and must be respected and protected.

Trees help keep the peace.

Trees speak the language of the budyaans, the birds and the people.

Trees want justice for our old people.

Trees teach you how to be on Country.

Trees speak the language of Mother Earth.

Trees speak the language of Biaami and Mudyigali, our creators and protectors.

Trees look, listen and understand.

Thank you.

The spirit of our ancestors and old people is in the trees. Trees help anchor our identity and belonging to Country — they hold knowledge, nurture and maintain the wellbeing of our people, plants and animals. Trees help maintain lore and custom. The old growth trees in the Parliamentary Triangle help keep the peace. They are our physical and spiritual guardians. They tell us how to be on Country. It’s a story that is part of truth-telling. The contemporary marking of trees on Country and in the Parliamentary Triangle, which includes the National Gallery Sculpture Garden, is about many things, including the ‘right of might’ approach — a right for our ancestors and families to be acknowledged, respected and honoured.

— Paul Girrawah House, 2021