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Brontë, Hannah - 2018.56

Hannah Brontë

Umma’s Tongue-molten at 6000˚ 2017
high definition video, sound
4.48 minutes
Purchased 2018

… My curves they swerve so superb
My word is my word and I came to serve

Cause we what?
We run this
What?
We run this
What?
We run this
[1]

If there were one word to describe the work and practice of Hannah Brontë it would be empowering. A Wakka Wakka and Yaegel artist based in Brisbane, Hannah studied at the Queensland College of Art, majoring in sculpture. She has a multi-disciplinary practice that includes experimental video art, sound and music production, installation, body adornment and weaving.

Although influenced by her ancestry and community, her work is more broadly informed by empowering women globally – particularly those marginalised – and interrogating the history of patricentric dominance in arts and music culture. Alongside creating her visual art, she is a popular DJ, and has curated events that place female performance artists front and centre, where women are serving up the truth and running their own show. Influenced by hip-hop, her work investigates the way in which women have been spoken about, spoken to and represented in pop culture, and her strategic and powerful intersection of art, music and performance ‘claps back’ at colonial histories, centring ‘HERstories’.

In her video work Umma’s Tongue-molten at 6000˚, Hannah looks at the current destruction of the earth, featuring images of healthy natural environments but cutting to ominous imagery of mining and damage to the planet, overlaid with First Nations women rapping and dressed in body adornment created by the artist. Footage of open-cut mines, waterfalls, pristine forests, molten lava and fire cross the screen while the beats carry a message: we must take action now and care for mother earth, before it’s too late. Hannah describes the work thus: ‘If mother earth were a rapper then this is her new music video’.[2] Although the work intercuts imagery of current environments and aerial footage of a pristine landscape it presents a dystopian future, which is not so unrealistic in our current climate of change. The repetition of ‘Umma’, or ‘Mother’, in the rap lyric conjures the feminine spirit at the core of the earth, rising in resistance to the tempest of human destruction. It speaks to the significance of women in the healing and regeneration of our world and communities, and is a message to be heard.

Umma’s Tongue-molten at 6000˚ is a journey of heaving beats and female rap; it is the soundtrack of now and our future, in which mother earth awakens her warrior women and their power to save her. They are First Peoples, women of colour, and they come from the land and protect it. Their curves hold the babies that will form the future generations of warrior people; they run this, Hannah runs this. ‘Umma’s Tongue’ empowers women and brings to our attention one of the most pertinent issues of our time: saving our Mother – Earth.

Kimberley Moulton is a Yorta Yorta woman curator and writer, and Senior Curator, South Eastern Aboriginal Collections, Museums Victoria.


[1] Missy Elliot, ‘We Run This’, accessed 6 June 2019, youtube.com/watch?v=t2oIhJG7rXA.

[2] Hannah Brontë, Institute of Modern Art website, accessed 6 June 2019, ima.org.au/exhibitions/green-screen-hannah-bronte-ummas-tongue-molten-at-6000-2.