Yinjaa-Barni Show A Softer Side of The Pilbara

We’re just hanging a beautiful new exhibition from the Yinjaa-Barni artists. These fine painters operate out of Roebourne in the Pilbara and the group exhibit here at Japingka about every eighteen months or so.

The Yinjaa-Barni artists have their own Art Centre right in the town of Roebourne. The artists are all people who live in the region, so their art is very particular to their part of the Pilbara.

There are about 8 to 12 artists in the art collective. The senior artists have been painting in the group for about 10 years. They’re also bringing along the younger generation, and usually we get 2 or 3 new artists appearing in each exhibition.

It’s been a great journey for Roebourne artists to find their own voice and to find the stories that intrigue and inspire them. A lot of their stories come from the landscape, the immediate country, how it re-generates, what water does in that climate, even what it’s like as a dry landscape.

“Colours Through the Rocks” is a common title that looks at those incredible colours deep within the fractured rocks in the Pilbara. It’s a real visual element that’s very particular to their country. The artists are originally from the traditional lands out on the Fortescue River, so they’re from quite well-watered parts of the Pilbara. They now live closer to the coast.

This exhibition is called, The Marrga – Creating the Pilbara and many of the stories relate to creation times. Particularly, the artist Marlene Harold talks about creation times in her work. She talks about a time in the beginning when the world was soft and the ancestors were living on the land. There was smoke, smoke from their fires, and just the kind of gentle, steamy air of a world that was still soft. Out of that is created the entire world and landscape that people have come to know.

Marlene Harold

Marlene HaroldThese images from Marlene Harold are fantastic creation stories with a very particular look. They’re not at all like any other aboriginal artists’ work. Some people find it more similar to impressionist landscapes because they’re gorgeously soft. You can see the grass and the particles of steam and the smoke drifting over the landscape. It’s not the Pilbara as it is now. She is painting the Pilbara as it was being created by Yindji-Barndi ancestral beings.

Clifton Mack

Jarman Island Lighthouse, Clifton MarkThere’s a really distinct painting of a lighthouse in this exhibition. Clifton Mack has adopted this image from Jarman Island, off the coast outside Karratha. There’s a lighthouse there; a historical site and it’s something Clifton has previously painted. He constructs the image out of painting elements from Aboriginal art. The whole painting is constructed out of dots and dashes and contrasting shapes that are more what we think of when an Aboriginal artist creates their landscape. In this painting, Clifton has applied that way of seeing to a physical building. It sits there with its patterning that’s so typical of Aboriginal painters. You can see that style of representation all over the sea, all over the building, all over the little rocky island. It’s a quite extraordinary image.

Clifton is the most experienced painter in the group and he has won a number of awards. I think Clifton is the best known. He’s probably the most collectible, maybe just ahead of Marlene Harold. He sometimes paints very large-scale. This lighthouse painting is maybe only 90 cm squared. Some of his paintings are over 2 meters across. Clifton is also quite varied in the subjects he paints.

His work always that signature style of mark making. It’s almost like breaking the subject down to its component parts, like its molecules and its building blocks and all its components. The whole thing is made out of these components, which is an absolutely indigenous way of looking at things; it’s not at all our Western way of looking at things.

I think people will be interested in this exhibition because it’s so varied. The artists all have their own individual stylistic approaches. The stories are about the Pilbara and their country, but the colours and the styles and the way they make the paintings are all different. I think it’s a wonderful, diverse series of paintings from a group of artists who all work in the same community.

Aileen Sandy

Aileen SandyThis may be the sixth exhibition that Yinjaa-Barni artists have put on Japingka Gallery. We see new artists come through who develop really strong imagery. For example, one painting by Aileen Sandy has a red grid pattern as a way of representing the rock structure. You would almost feel like it’s a engineering drawing or geological design of how the rocks are put together.

She has come out in the last couple of exhibitions with some extraordinary paintings. There’s always something surprising. I think overall the feel of this exhibition is actually quite soft. It has a kind of toned down softness to it which is more pronounced than maybe even earlier exhibitions by this group.

We tend to think of the Pilbara for its harshness, for its extremes, for its arid and very rocky terrain. The Yinjaa-Barni  approach  shows you another way of thinking about that place. These Yinjaa-Barni stories reflect on a softer side, like the seeds that come from the trees and flowers and the regrowth of the country after rain. These paintings are all very affectionate and engaged ways of looking at the Pilbara country. It’s a unique perspective from these indigenous painters who live there.

The Marrga – Creating the Pilbara opens in Gallery 1 on 13 February. I hope to see you there.

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New Affordable Paintings – Recently Arrived

Women’s Ceremony

Pintupi artists Monica Napaltjarri and Narpulla Scobie have painted some beautiful small works which have just recently arrived at the gallery. Monica Napaltjarri uses traditional iconography of the Western Desert and her
work features a restrained palette based around earth colours. Her subject matter relates to ancestral country from her grandmother and women’s sacred sites.

Narpulla Scobie was amongst the first of the Western Desert women artists to start painting in her own right. Her paintings focus on women’s ceremonies and the body painting rituals that the women undertake. Both these artists have made small and intimate paintings, measuring 60 x 46 cm and 60 x 30 cm, which are collectable and affordable, presenting great examples of the artistic style from the Kintore region. Some examples of these artists’ works can be found on our Affordable Art page – click on the link to see more.



Rosella Namok’s New Paintings of the Queensland Coast

 

Sunset Rain

The weather is breaking along the north Queensland coast and the Wet season is on its way. Rosella Namok has captured some of the rainy season in Cairns in a new series of paintings that have just arrived at Japingka Gallery. Titles like ‘Late Afternoon – Stinging Rain’ and ‘Salmon Season – Shower Rain’ give a sense of how the time of day and the light effect the way the artist has developed these artworks.

These paintings are luminous with colour and heavy with the sense of impending rainstorm. Rosella Namok has been a firm favourite with buyers, flowing from her November 2013 exhibition at Japingka Gallery, entitled Naagchi Ngumu’luugku – I Come from Here – Lockhart River, Cape York.

Rosella has enjoyed success with her art career both nationally and internationally, with over 30 exhibitions and representation in all major Australian public galleries. Two of her artworks were commissioned  in 2013 to become remarkable backdrops for the performance of Stravinsky’s ballet the ‘Rite of Spring’ in the USA. Her dramatic large scale paintings lend themselves beautifully to this type of impressive display.

We look forward to seeing more of Rosella’s artworks in the gallery. See some of the new paintings here.

 

 



Seven Sisters Dreaming

Warlpiri Star Gazers Dazzle at Japingka

Seven Sisters DreamingIt would be fair to say that we’re all a little starstruck right now at Japingka as we’re hanging the paintings for our Warlpiri Star Gazers exhibition.

It’s not surprising that the contemporary Aboriginal art movement bought us a number of artists who passionately follow astronomical themes in their painting.

It’s clear that historically Aboriginal people took a lot of notice of the stars. As nomads they used astronomy to plan many of their activities. Decisions such as the direction to travel, when to travel and times for hunting were influenced by the stars. Astronomy was also the inspiration for important stories across many tribal groups.

This next exhibition Warlpiri Star Gazers opens in Gallery1 from 21 November to 23 December and showcases some of the artists who draw on the stars for their inspiration.

Perhaps the best known of these is the Warlpiri artist Alma Nungarrayi Granites. Alma is known for her paintings of the Seven Sisters Dreaming.

Seven Sister Dreaming Story
These paintings tell of how the ancestral Napaljarri sisters formed in the star cluster known as the Pleiades.The Pleiades are seven women who are depicted in this Jukurrpa carrying the Jampijinpa man Wardilyka. This man is in love with the Napaljarri-warnu and who is represented in the Orion’s Belt cluster of stars. Jukurra-jukurra, the morning star, is a Jakamarra man who is also in love with the seven Napaljarri sisters. In paintings he is often shown chasing them across the night sky. In a final attempt to escape from the Jakamarra, the Napaljarri-warnu turned themselves into fire and ascended to the heavens to become stars.

Other artists represented in our Warlpiri Star Gazers exhibition include; Christine Napanangka Michaels, Murdie Nampijinpa Morris, Nola Napangardi Wilson Fisher, Valerie Napurrurla Morris, Stephanie Napurrurla Nelson, Walter Jangala Brown and many others.

It’s a stunning collection and we can’t wait to share it with you.

Read more: Warlpiri Star Gazers



Linda Syddick Napaltjarri

The Remarkable Life of Linda Syddick Napaltjarri

Linda Syddick Napaltjarri

Linda Syddick Napaltjarri

We have an exhibition of works by Linda Syddick Napaltjarri coming up so I thought it might be interesting to talk a little about her life.

Linda was born in 1937. She is a Pintupi woman from Lake MacKay in the Gibson Desert in Western Australia. Linda’s Aboriginal name is Tjunkiya Wukula Napaltjarri. She lived a traditional nomadic life with her people until the age of about eight. At this time her family walked out of the desert and decided to settle at the Lutheran Mission at Haasts Bluff in the Northern Territory.

Linda’s father was killed when she was young. Her mother later married artist Shorty Lungkarta Tjungarrayi. His work was a significant influence on Linda’s painting. Linda married several times, and still uses the family name of her second husband Musty Syddick (Cedick).

Linda Syddick Napaltjarri collects the stories from her life into a series of images that represent the major turning points in her journey. One such incident was the first contact experience when her family group first encountered white people. Linda Syddick Napaltjarri was an eight year old child at the time and it was an memorable event in her life.

She tells the story of how a traditional medicine man followed with their party first encountered a windmill at Mt Liebig. While Linda’s adoptive father, Shorty Lankata Tjungurrayi, had contact with white settlers before, most of the party had not.

Linda Syddick Napaltjarri recounts how the witchdoctor drew on bush magic to quell the fierce windmill that he saw in the early morning. Looking more like a demonic spirit, the windmill proved to be immune the old witchdoctor’s magic. It was Linda’s father who finally was able to persuade the old man that the machine was not an evil spirit.

This story and other stories of desert survival are direct from the voice of someone who was there at those first encounters. Linda Syddick Napaltjarri draws on metaphysical stories she later learned in the mission settlements and fused them with her memories of the desert and Tingari Creation events.

Linda first exhibited her work in Alice Springs in 1991. Her work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Linda’s work has been shown at Japingka in four previous exhibitions.

We are delighted to be exhibiting her work in Gallery 2 from 21 November – 23 December 2014.

Further Information:



Ormay 2

How To Use Aboriginal Art In A Workplace Culture

We are fascinated to learn about how aboriginal art resonates with scientific thinkers.

For several years biochemist Professor Nadia Rosenthal has been collecting aboriginal art and hanging it in her workplace, the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University.

Recently we got to sit down with her and ask about how these paintings contribute to the development of a workplace culture. Here is a summary of the key benefits.

Aboriginal Art Can Promote Communication

The Institute has 250 scientists and staff and Nadia believes that the paintings help with communication by keeping people talking to each other.

Aboriginal Art Can Create Attractive Workspaces

Nadia talks about the value of having beautiful things in the workplace and how much scientific workplaces are changing.

Nadia says, “These days, we’re much more sensitive to the fact that people are likely to come to work and stay at work if it’s actually a nice place to spend some time.”

Aboriginal Art Can Reinforce Australian Identity

The Institute attracts visitors from all over the world. The aboriginal art on the walls of the Institute helps define it as an Australian place.

You can read more about the role of art in Nadia’s workplace culture in this article Aboriginal Art and a Workplace Culture of Creativity.



Yanjirlpirri Jukurrpa – Seven Sisters Dreaming

The Story Behind Star Gazers

44 yy

Star Gazer

Knowledge of the deep solar system and local Indigenous knowledge of the stars are fused in the current exhibition Shared Sky at the John Curtin Gallery at Curtin University, open until 2nd November. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with Yamaji Art Centre, Geraldton, the international SKA Organisation; SKA-South Africa; SKA-Australia and the First People Centre, Bethesda Arts Centre, Nieu Bethesda, South Africa.

The exhibition focuses on the shared knowledge of the Square Kilometre radio telescope project, hosted in Australia and South Africa. It explores the traditional stories of Indigenous people from both regions of these continents, whose ancient knowledge of astronomy is deeply embedded in their cultures.

Astronomy was an important source of knowledge for Aboriginal people across the Australian continent. It is used in measuring the seasons and the calendar, for the cycles of localised food sources, and for directions by night. The knowledge of astronomy is embedded in the ancient Law stories carried by Aboriginal people over vast periods of time.

The Warlpiri people of the Tanami Desert include families who are custodians of the Jukurrpa or Dreamtime Law story of the Seven Sisters, the Pleaides. This knowledge is shared over a wide territory and by many different language groups. Artists from the Central Desert communities of Nirripi and Yuendumu have long painted these stories, and in more recent times have exhibited contemporary visions of the  Yanjirlpirri Jukurrpa (Star Dreaming) at their exhibitions at Japingka Gallery.

To see the artists’ work of these fascinating stories visit the exhibition page or view the exhibition live at Japingka Gallery from 21 November to 23 December 2014.



Roy Underwood in London

Spinifex Artists are a Special Group of Desert Painters

Roy Underwood in LondonThe Spinifex artists have returned for their latest exhibition at Japingka Gallery, where they first began exhibiting in 2002.  From their homelands in the Great Victoria Desert, the Spinifex people were displaced at the time of the Maralinga nuclear tests during the 1950s and 1960s. Returning to their traditional country had been a cherished goal but also a gradual and arduous process.

But they have succeeded – returning to their country and gaining Native Title to their homelands in 2000. By painting their knowledge of the country, the Spinifex artists have shown how family connections link them to waterholes and sacred sites on ancestral country. The British Museum has collected their artworks, as has the Western Australian Museum and many major private collectors. See the exhibition between 10th October and 7th November 2014. More artworks can be found here.



Iwantja Artists Exhibition – Successful Conclusion

Iwantja Artists at Japinkga Gallery, September 2014Congratulations to Iwantja artists for their high quality exhibition presented during September. Paintings have found new homes in USA, Malaysia, Canada and Israel, as well as cities across Australia. Iwantja is at a relatively early stage of setting up its artists’ reputations, so this response is very gratifying.

With twelve artists exhibiting from this small community, the range of paintings is diverse, from subtle Dreaming images from Maringka Burton, to more expressive paintings of  ‘Country Remembered’ by Angkuna Baker, Kanakiya Tjanyari and Mary Brumby. And Tiger Yaltangki always delights viewers with his bold drawing and rich colours. As the exhibition draws to a close, we hope new viewers will continue to visit the show online, as there remains some new paintings and some high quality works that are still available. The exhibition can be found here.

Artwork Exhibition by Iwantja Artists OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA _SDR3357 _SDR3358



Spinifex Women's Collaborative, Kungkarangkalpa

Here’s Our New Exhibition From The Spinifex Arts Project

Myrtle Pennington, Spinifex Arts Project

Myrtle Pennington | Kanpa. Spinifex Arts Project

There’s so much excitement here at as we prepare for the new show by the Spinifex Arts Project.

These works are so powerful and vibrant. It’s easy to see why they’re enjoying so much international success right now. In the last year they’ve had successful shows in Germany and Singapore, and the British Museum have added two more of their works to it’s collection.

We are so proud to see the way the Spinifex Arts Project has developed – following their debut exhibition in Melbourne (in 2002), Japingka Gallery hosted their second exhibition (also in 2002), and we’ve held six more exhibitions of their work over the last 11 years.

If you’d like some more background on the exhibition and the life of the artists who produce this extraordinary work, you can have a look at two articles we’ve published about the Spinifex Arts Project. These are both based on interviews with Amanda Dent, Manager of the project.

In Everyday Spirituality: Paintings from The Spinifex Arts Project, Amanda reflects on where the artists draw their inspiration from and why she feels their work is attracting so much attention. In Working With The Spinifex Arts Project, Amanda describes some of the unique aspects of working with a remote desert community and an arts project such as the Spinifex Arts Project.

It is amazing to understand that these artists are producing all this quality art with the only supporting infrastructure being a shipping container for storing art materials.

For three months of the year the artists cannot work because there is no sheltered working space or studio to work in away from the heat and wind. What these artists manage to achieve in the remainder of the year says much about their passion and commitment.

I’m really hoping you will get to see this new Spinifex Arts Project exhibition when it opens here at Japingka on Fri 10 October (6:30pm start, free entry) and get to see first hand what all the excitement is about.

Exhibition Link: