ABORIGINAL artist Gali Yalkarriwuy Gurruwiwi is in England to demonstrate the culture of his people. His art is currently on display at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery in Fitzrovia in a world-first show.

Gali (pictured above), talks poignantly about the changes that came to his people when they were resettled to a military base at Milingimbi, an island off Australia’s north coast, where he was born during the Second World War.

Many of his people were dying and, having been removed from their homeland, survivors saw a culture of ever-more powerful weapons develop.

Nuclear bomb tests were carried out on Aboriginal land at Maralinga in the 1960s “ and the prevailing culture of the time disregarded their beliefs and their rights to own land.

Gali’s people began to lose faith in their own culture. After the war, his family was moved again, this time to Elcho Island, also near Australia’s north coast.

He was among the last to know all the ancient stories that had been passed down by word of mouth through generations.

Because of this he was made custodian of The Banumbirr “ or Morning Star Pole “ which symbolises The Cycle of Life. Gali was taught how to make the sacred pole, and felt that if his culture was to survive, his people must share the knowledge with those outside their clan.

The Elcho Island Exhibition runs at the Rebecca Hossack gallery in Conway Street, W1 until August 7