Wau-Mananyi – The Song on the Wind. Trailer.

Created by the acclaimed Uti Kulintjaku working with fEEL.

Formed by the Ngangkari (traditional healers) and artists of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council, Uti Kulintjaku addresses community issues of mental health from both Aboriginal and Western perspectives.
The team have created a virtual reality work, sharing their healing practices through creative visualisation. Waumananyi: The Song on the Wind is an Anangu-led response to the experiences of constraint, entrapment and depression through the traditional story of The Man in the Log:

A good man, a husband and provider, goes hunting one day and chases an animal into a hollow log, where he becomes hopelessly stuck. While wailing and singing, he manages to hobble back to his two wives, who are baffled by the sound coming from the advancing log. When they realise their husband is inside, they fling themselves about in grief and try to free him. Failing this, they squeeze water-soaked grass through a small opening so he can drink, and then lead and carry him in search of a ngangkari powerful enough to set him free. After much difficulty and the efforts of several ngangkari, the log is cracked to reveal the shrunken, emaciated body of the husband. With the care of his wives and the advice of the healers, he is slowly restored.

The virtual reality experience asks what is it like to be physically and mentally trapped in a space from which you can’t escape. In this case you can see through holes in the log and you can see people you love and people in your community, but you can no longer connect with them. Waumananyi is a profound metaphor for incarceration, separation, addiction and that sense of powerlessness that many people in communities experience.

A project flyer can be downloaded as PDF here.

Anangu-led co-production of  Uti Kulintjaku, Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council (Aboriginal Corporation) and fEEL – Felt Experience and Empathy Lab (UNSW Art & Design).

Shot of Anangu homelands, NT.

The NPY artist team includes: Rene Wanuny Kulitja, Pantjiti Imitjala Lewis, David Miller, Pantjiti Unkari McKenzie, Naomi Kantjurinyi, Ilawanti Ungkutjuru Ken, Nyunmiti Burton, Margaret Smith, Theresa Nipper, Tjulapi Alison Carroll, Niningka Lewis, Roy Yaltjanki, Johnny Jingo

Cast: Wife 1 Rene Wanuny Kulitja, Wife 2 Pantjiti Imitjala Lewis, Husband David Miller, Skinny Man Johnny Jingo, Ngangkari 1 Roy Yaltjanki, Ngangkari 2 David MIller, Ngangkari community Pantjiti Unkari, McKenzie, Naomi Kantjurinyi, Ilawanti Ungkutjuru Ken, Nyunmiti Burton, Margaret Smith, Theresa Nipper, Tjulapi Alison Carroll, Niningka Lewis., Singer David Miller

Production Design Uti Kulintjaku
Storyboards/Title Art Rene Kulitja
Producers Jill Bennett, Angela Lynch, Lisa Stefanoff,
Art Director & Production Design (Digital) Volker Kuchelmeister
Sound Recordist & Audio Design Leah Barclay
Interpreters Kathy Tozer, Beth Sometimes, Patrick Hookey
Assistant, Producer Bec Dean
Photographer Rhett Hammerton
VR Deployment Xueqing Lu

Special thanks:Stephen Sewell, Luis Dominguez, Karen Kriss, Steve Weymouth, Eva Nolan, the resource centre team, Ant Banister and the participants in the study.

Supported by the Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship program (Jill Bennett) and the Oranges & Sardines Foundation.


  • Knowledge Intersections Symposium, Desert Knowledge Precinct, Alice Springs. 21/9/21.
  • Winda Film Festival, University of Technology, Sydney. 21/11/2019 – 24/11/2019.
  • Siggraph Asia, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Sydney. 17/11/2019 – 20/11/2019.
  • VRST 25th ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology, Western Sydney University, Parramatta. 12/11/2019 – 15/11/2019.
  • Pop up exhibition., UNSW Library, Sydney. 28/10/2019 – 31/10/2019.
    Art after Hours. The Big Anxiety virtual reality station., Art Gallery NSW, Sydney. 16/10/2019.
  • The DAX Centre, University of Melbourne, Melbourne. 10/10/2019 – 08/11/2019.
  • The Empathy Clinic, Big Anxiety Festival, UNSW Art and Design, Sydney. 27/09/2019 – 09/11/2019.