MEET OUR ABORIGINAL ARTISTS.
I hope you fall in love with Aboriginal Art the same way I did. Techniques passed from generation to generation. Early images can be found in caves from 6000 years ago.
The colours, fluidity and beauty are truly unique.
This painting represents the Leaves that were traditionally used for medicine. This practice was used long before western medicine was introduced to the aboriginal people. The bush medicine leaves are collected by the women and are highly prized for their restorative powers as part of traditional health practices.
When the leaves of the shrub are green they are gathered by the women and ground up using a stone. Then the medicine leaf compound is mixed with water to form a milky solution, which can be used to cure coughs, colds and flu-like symptoms.
Also, the medicine leaves can be collected and boiled to extract the resin, which is then mixed together with kangaroo fat. The paste that is created can be stored for six months in bush conditions. In painting the Bush Medicine Leaf story, the artist pays homage to the spirit of the medicinal plant. By creating its image the artist encourages the regeneration of the bush medicine plant so that her people can continue to benefit from its healing powers.
Felicity Robertson Nampitjinpa is a talented artist from Yuendumu, 293 km northwest of Alice Springs on the Tanami Track. Yuendumu is a remote community largely made up of the Warlpiri and Anmatyerr people.
Felicity is the daughter of the world famous artist Shorty Robertson Jangala. Like her father, Felicity paints the story of water dreaming (Ngapa Jukurrpa) called “Puyurru” or “Soakage”, based on the large soakage sites and clay pans in her country.
Felicity’s intricate dot work and use of a bright and bold colour palette, make her works contemporary statement pieces of Aboriginal Art. In following in her father’s footsteps, Felicity is on track to be one of Australia’s most collectable Indigenous artists.
In support of this, Felicity in 2017 was named a finalist in the For Arts Sake art prize endorsed by Participate Australia.
In addition, Felicity’s amazing ‘Puyurru’ artwork entered into the prestigious 2017 Wynne Prize, has been selected to be exhibited in the Salon des Refusés at the S.H. Ervin Gallery in Sydney.
Felicity’s “Puyurru” was also an exhibited finalist in the 2017 and 2018 Mosman Art Prize.
Sonia Namarnyilk started working at Bábbarra Designs in 1993. An enthusiastic sewer, screen printer and lino printer, her health has prevented her working in recent years.
Born in Gunbalanya, Sonia’s fabric designs feature Yawkyawk imagery (female water spirits), turtles and barramundi. She also created art for Maningrida Arts & Culture, making prints on paper, wood carvings and woven fibre art. Her artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally.
Selina went to primary school at Stirling Station in the north Utopia region near Tennant Creek. Her mother's homelands. Selina as with her sisters and brothers were sent to boarding school in Darwin as no secondary schooling was available in Tennant Creek of Alice Springs.
Selina currently resides in Darwin but regularly visits her Country.
Selina and her sisters, and mother, come from a long line of desert painters of the contemporary Aboriginal art and dot-dot central desert movement from well renowned painter aunties: Gloria and Kathleen Petyerre, who are well established artists in Alice Springs.
The Bush Medicine Leaves Dreaming knowledge story is a popular theme of the Numina Sisters. Many women from the Peytre, Mambitji and Numina family name hold custody of the story and knowledge keepers of painting series-themes such as Bush Medicine Leaves, Bush Tucker, Seeded, Soakage, Women' s Ceremony etc - in common with other skin groups across the vast arid creek beds and red sand of central Australia.
Subjects of importance in the theme-series painted are various bush tucker. Plant foods include wild berries, plums, onion, yam, seeds etc. Many animals can be depicted as food source or as totems such as Thorny Devil Lizard and Dingo Tracks.
Women's Ceremony, Awelye Body Art Ceremony are mostly painted by senior ladies but younger women need to know it from a young age. Some themes such as Bush Tucker can be open and universal others can be secret and or significant cultural ceremonies.
Margaret Scobie was born in January 1948 at Woola Downs which is an outstation of Ti Tree, a small community 190km north of Alice Springs. Margaret is a respected elder of her community and is related to many famous Aboriginal artists, such as Gloria Petyarre, Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Ada Bird Petyarre. Her lyrical brush stroke gives the impression of the bush medicine leaves being moved by the blowing wind.
Daughter of highly regarded elder and women's business story keeper Barbara Price Mtjimbana, Jacinta went to primary school at Stirling Station near Tennant Creek. Later Jacinta went to Kormilda College in Darwin for high school as did most of her sisters, The Numina Sisters. Jacinta is one of the elder sisters of these six well known desert artists and also has three brothers.
Like her sisters and mother she comes from a long line of desert painters of the contemporary Aboriginal art and dot-dot central desert movement from well renowned painter aunties: Gloria and Kathleen Petyerre, who are well established artists in Alice Springs.
Jacinta lives in Darwin where her works are collected by universities, art dealers and art lovers from around the world. She regularly travels back to home lands to visit family.
The Bush Medicine Leaves Dreaming knowledge story is a popular theme of the Numina Sisters. Many women from the Peytre, Mambitji and Numina family name hold custody of the story and knowledge keepers of painting series-themes such as Bush Medicine Leaves, Bush Tucker, Seeded, Soakage, Women's Ceremony etc - in common with other skin groups across the vast arid creek beds and red sand of central Australia.
Subjects of importance in the theme-series painted are various bush tucker. Plant foods include wild berries, plums, onion, yam, seeds etc. Many animals can be depicted as food source or as totems such as Thorny Devil Lizard and Dingo Tracks.
Women's Ceremony, Awelye Body Art Ceremony are mostly painted by senior ladies but younger women need to know it from a young age. Some themes such as Bush Tucker can be open and universal, but others can be secret and significant cultural ceremonies.
Knowing, carrying and reinforcing these stories gives respect for Country and ancestors and shows responsibility and care of holding such stories to keep the stories and traditional practices alive. The knowledge must be retold repeatedly and handed on.
The Numina Sisters have all been taught to paint by their earlier elder painter grandmothers, mother-auntys, and cousin-sisters connected across the Central Desert region. Their mother's and grandmother's Country is in the bush and in remote Stirling Station.
Colleen Wallace is a traditional woman and as such is responsible for aspects of painting ceremonies as in this stunning piece titled, "Dreamtime Sisters" which tells her story of dancing sisters. Beautiful intricate dotting with bold colour's which represents wild flowers and berries blossoming in the desert after a big rain,
Colleen is an artist in high demand, her work is constantly sought after by Galleries and private collectors worldwide.
Lanita Numina is one of the middle sisters of the six well known desert artists: the Numina Sisters.
She has two brothers, her dear father is passed on and her widow mum still paints from time to time. Like her sisters Lanita went to primary school on Stirling Station near Tennant Creek. Like her sisters and mother she comes from a long line of desert painters of the contemporary Aboriginal art and dot-dot central desert movement.
Caroline Numina is an Anmatyerre artist and one of six sisters and three brothers who lived at Ti Tree, 190km North of Alice Springs in Central Australia. Her mother is Barbara Mbitjana (Other names: Pananka or Price). She attended primary school at Stirling Station, a cattle station near Tennant Creek where she began painting at a young age, taking guidance from her world famous aunties Gloria and Kathleen Petyarre. She later studied at Yirara College in Alice Springs. After her studies, she returned to Stirling Station working with the Community Development Program. In 2000 the Numina family moved to Darwin where they still live today.
Caroline and her four sisters, Jacinta, Lanita, Louise and Sharon Numina also well respected artists from Utopia, share many totems including the Bush Medicine Plant and she expresses their connection to the plant in a similar painting style to their famous Aunty, the renowned artist Gloria Petyarre. Louise first began painting the Women's bush tucker dreamings when she was a young girl. Aboriginal women have their own ceremonies in which a series of song and dance cycles tell of the Ancestral Beings who walked the earth teaching women's law and ceremony to isolated groups living throughout the desert. Each tribe has its own set of women ancestors with different stories, designs and dances, but most of the ceremonies have one theme common to all groups, that of food gathering as the most important part of women's lives.
Sharon was born in 1981 and attended school at Kormilda College Darwin. Sharon is one of six sisters and three brothers. Her mother Barbara Price Mbtitjana, an elder painter and cultural elder from Stirling Station near Tennant Creek, taught all her daughters to paint. Sharon is the youngest of the of the fabulous Numina Sister desert artists. Sharon currently lives in Darwin with her older sisters and mother.
Sharon's father, now passed, is from Utopia. The stories of Collecting Bush Tucker and Emu Dreaming along with other themes that Sharon paints, is her mother's and father's Country and Dreaming totems and cultural knowledge stories.
Sharon and her sisters, and mother, comes from a long line of desert painters of the contemporary Aboriginal art and dot-dot central desert movement from well renowned painter aunties: Gloria and Kathleen Petyerre, who are well established artists in Alice Springs.
The Bush Medicine Leaves Dreaming knowledge story is a popular theme of the Numina Sisters. Many women from the Peytre, Mambitji and Numina family name hold custody of the story and knowledge keepers of painting series-themes such as Bush Medicine Leaves, Bush Tucker, Seeded, Soakage, Womens' Ceremony, Dingo Tracks etc - in common with other skin groups across the vast arid creek beds and red sand of central Australia.
Subjects of importance in the theme-series painted are various bush tucker food. Plant foods include wild berries, plums, onion, yam, seeds etc. Many animals can be depicted as food source or as totems such as Thorny Devil Lizard and Dingo Tracks.
Women's Ceremony - Awelye Body Art Ceremony are mostly painted by senior ladies but younger women learn them. Some themes such as Bush Tucker can be open and universal others can be secret and or significant cultural ceremonies.
Jorna Newberry is an Indigenous female artist from Angus Downs in the Northern Territory. Jorna was born in 1959 and is a Pijantjatjara woman who now resides in both Alice Springs and her traditional land in Warakurna with her family.
Jorna is the niece and was the carer of the internationally acclaimed Aboriginal artist, the late Tommy Watson Yannima. As a result, she was artistically influenced by her famous uncle and has now become a renowned artist in her own right.
Jorna is most recognised for her representation of ‘Fire Dreaming’. This story depicts the creation of the artist’s sacred land and the power of the Earth’s natural elements.
In addition, Jorna paints stunning representations of her Country titled “Walpa Tjukurpa” or “My Country”. Jorna’s arial depictions of her land utilise deep, rich colours which acknowledges the sacred ancestral sprits, who defined the landscape of her country.
Jorna’s unique style makes her a highly sought after artist who has been exhibited in galleries throughout Australia.
The intricate, fine line work utilised by the artist in association with her attention to detail, make Jorna’s works truly remarkable representations of her innate Dreaming. This is enhanced with her deep and bold colour palette, which beautifully represents the natural element of fire and the power seen in it’s movement.
Jeannie Mills Pwerle was born in 1965 and is a renowned artist who comes from Utopia located 350 km north east of Alice Springs. She comes from a family of famous Aboriginal artists, with her mother Dolly Mills and niece to the renowned Greeny Purvis Petyarre.
Jeannie’s signature dreaming is that of the ‘Bush Yam’, which she depicts in her artworks. Her dreaming is so significant, as the bush yam serves as a vital source of bush nutrition, which Utopian women have been utilising for generations.
The calibre of Jeannie’s works is most prominently reflected in 2008, where Jeannie was named a finalist in the Telstra Art Prize.
Jeannie’s representation of her dreaming, takes the viewer on a colourful, flowing visual journey. Jeannie uses multiple hues of bright, complementary colours, surrounded with fine dot work, to produce a fine representation of the bush yam.
Elsie Granites Napanangka (1959) is a respected and well established Indigenous artist from Yuendumu, in the Northern Territory.
Yuendumu is one of the largest remote communities in central Australia and has a thriving community of Aboriginal artists, including Felicity Robertson Nampitjinpa and the late Dorothy Napangardi.
Elsie’s paintings are based on the Dreamings of her custodial land “Mina Mina” the Country west of her birthplace in Yuendumu. Elsie paints in the minimalist black and white dotting style, similar to the late Dorothy Napangardi who also painted “Mina Mina”.
Elsie’s often monochrome depiction of “Mina Mina’ is an abstract representation of her Country, with each and every dot representing the Ancestral Spirits that travelled across the land during the Dreamtime. It is believed that where ever the Ancestral Spirits lay, the natural formations of the land occurred. Thus, it is clear to see why Elsie’s work is such an important and beautifully represented depiction of her sacred land.
Elsie also paints the sacred, “Seven Sisters Dreaming” story.
The seven sisters Dreaming illustrated by Elsie tells of the sacred story of the ancestral sisters who are being chased by the ancestral Jakamarra man, who was in love with them. The story goes that in an attempt to escape the Jakamarra man, the seven sisters turned themselves into the stars an ascended into the heavenly skies which today make up the constellation of Taurus. The Jakamarra man depicted as the lone star in this painting is still chasing the love of the sisters today.
The powerful story in this work so intricately detailed by Elsie is enhanced with her use of contrasting colours including blue, black and white.
GARY WILSON REID
Gary Wilson Reid Tjampitjinpa was born around 1966 and originates from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands of Sawn Hill in Victoria.
However Gary was adopted out into a non-indigenous family very early on in life and thus, did not start re-connecting fully with his indigenous culture until his early 20’s when he retuned to his country in Swan Hill.
Gary thereafter married renowned artist Lily Campbell Napangardi.
Gary paints his dreaming ‘Nantucker’ which is a vivid portrayal of his country and also often paints ‘Lizard Dreaming’ and ‘Water Dreaming’.
Gary uses bright hues of blue, red, orange and yellow to create highly detailed artworks, which are distinct representations of Aboriginal culture, the land and the water flowing through it.
Louise Numina is one of six well known desert artists: the Numina Sisters. She has three brothers, her dear father passed and her widow mum still paints and lives in Darwin. Louise went to primary school on Stirling Station near Tennant Creek. She later studied at Yirarra College in Alice Springs. Like her sisters and mother she comes from a long line of desert painters of the contemporary Aboriginal art and dot-dot central desert movement.
After high school Louise returned to Stirling Station near Ti Tree where she worked with the Community Development Program. She started painting in 1981 after being taught by her well renowned painter aunties: Gloria and Kathleen Petyerre, who are well established artists in Alice Springs.
Louise has lived in Darwin since 1995 when she began studying at Nungalinya College achieving a diploma in Fine Arts. Louise works have featured in exhibitions in Darwin, Sydney and Brisbane. Her work has been collected for over 15 years.
Louise has three young children. The Numina Sisters travel regularly back home to visit their relatives and country.
Anna Price Petyarre was born c. 1965 on Utopia Station, north east of Alice Springs, in Anmatyerre country and she is the daughter of a well respected artist Glory Ngarla. Glory Ngarla is well known for her batik work at Utopia. Anna has also worked with the Utopia batik group at a young age in the 1980's. Anna depicts the Bush Yam, Bush Yam Seed and Salt Lakes or MY Country stories. These are the Dreamings of her grandfather and father's country from the Boundary Bore region. At first Anna Petyarre used very bright colours with minimal dotting and the last 10 years her creativety and talant made her change her painting style radically and now Anna's works illustrate a technique of intricate dot work, with small amount of colour.An award winning artist, she is represented in many galleries and collections.
Patricia Kamara was born circa early 1960s and her country is Anerara, which is near the Utopia region of Central Australia. Patricia is related to the talented Petyarre family, namely Kathleen and Jeannie. Patricia paints the bush medicine leaf, pencil yam and subjects connected to women’s business.
Open to outside influence, Gracie's style has evolved into the highly detailed spectre as it presently appears. Her work is quite brilliant, comprised of laborious fine dots in intricate patterns, all associated with stories of her Dreamtimes.
Gracie's work has been widely displayed in major galleries.
Artist: Rosemary Petyarre
Skin Name: Petyarre (Pitjara)
Region: Utopia, Central Australia
Subjects and Themes(Dreaming): Yam flower, Yam Seed, Medicine leaves.
Rosemary Petyarre was born in 1945 at Utopia, 350km east of Alice Springs in Central Australia. Rosemary comes from a strong artist family background, her Brother is famous aboriginal artist Grenny Purvis Petyarre (passed away 2010). Other famous Petyarre artists include well-known Gloria Petyarre, Jeannie Petyarre, Petyarre, Ada Bird Petyarre, Violet Petyarre, Myrtle Petyarre and Nancy Petyarre.Rosemary was involved in the making of batik and in 1994 she and several other women from Utopia travelled to Indonesia to learn different techniques for producing batik.Like most other Utopian artists, Rosemary began her formal artist career with the Summer Project, sponsored by CAAMA in 1988-89, which led to painting with acrylic on canvas.
Violet Petyarre was born circa 1946 at Atnagkere, on the western boundary of Utopia Station, 250kms, north-east of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia. Violet belongs to the Anmatyerr clan group and speaks Eastern Anmatyerr with English as a second language, settled at Iylently (Mosquito Bore) near Utopia Station with her seven sisters, including Kathleen, Gloria, Nancy, Myrtle, Ada and Gina establishing a family camp which she still frequently re-visits today.
Violet commenced painting on batik and silk in 1977 and in 1988 started to paint with acrylics on canvas. She shares the Dreamings: Arnkerrth (Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming) Engcarma (Bean) Unyara (Emu) Annlara (Pencil Yam) Kadjeta (Grass Seeds) Elaitchurunga (Small Brown Grass) Awelye (women’s body paint design) with her sisters Ada, Myrtle, Jeannie, Nancy, Gloria and Kathleen. Originally working with batik tie-dying Violet’s artistic endeavours commenced 1977, with Batik Colours were then applied and these bright fabric panels were then sewn into garments that were welcomed by the Utopia women. Also Violet used woodblock printing techniques, in which her Dreaming references were burnt into wood with hot wire and then ‘stamped’ onto fabric. Violet delicately portrayed her Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming through complex lines and dotting drawn on silk textiles (National Gallery of Victoria Collection). In 1988 her works-on-canvas followed this style, which she produced alongside her sister Kathleen Petyarre and her Aunt, the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye. With other Utopia women, Violet first works-on-canvas evolved through a special local project entitled ‘Utopia Women’s Paintings - A Summer Project 1988-1989’ (The Holmes a’ Court Collection). This project engendered a new direction of artistic output, launching Utopia as a major centre for Indigenous art and placing it firmly within the context of the Australian contemporary art scene.
During the 1990s Violet oeuvre shifted with her Body painting series which portrays a more structured composition: the essence of her Dreaming laid bare, stripped of adornment, powerfully evoking true abstract expressionism form. In 2007, she continued artistic experimentation through the introduction of bold new colours, giving her celebrated works a bright new contemporary lustre. Violet has firmly positioned herself as a major exponent of the ever-evolving Utopian and Australian contemporary art movements. Currently she divides her time between Iylently, Adelaide and Amaroo Station. Her role as a foundation member of the Utopia arts community together with her artistic individualism has firmly endorsed her position as an important contributor to Australia’s art history.
Rosemary Bird Pitjara (Petyarre) was born in the early 1950s at Atneltye, or Boundary Bore, on Utopia Station in the Northern Territory, located 270 km north-east of Alice Springs. Rosemary is niece of the famous Aboriginal artist, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, and sister of Jeannie Pitjara and half sister of artists Greeny Purvis Petyarre and Evelyn Pultara. She is also a skin sister to other well-known artists including Gloria Petyarre, Kathleen Petyarre and Ada Bird Petyarre. Rosemary has established herself as an accomplished bush medicine leaf painter, capturing both the movement, depth and rhythm of the leaves as they dry in the wind. Rosemary also shows an innate sense of colour in her works and is a sought after artist.
Walter’s Dreaming encompasses the sacred men’s ceremonies that come from his community in Kintore. These include Tingari, Fire Dreaming and Spear Dreaming.
Walter’s signature Spear Dreaming was taught to him by his artist father, who is very well-known for painting Fire Dreaming. The story tells of the hunting and ceremonial spears passing through the fire, which is both a practical and symbolic tradition held by certain men within Walter’s community. This ceremony is traditionally a closed ceremony, to which only the men of Kintore are allowed to attend.
Walter’s depictions of his Dreaming are vivid and bold, encompassing strong contrasting colours and lines to create visually stunning pieces of contemporary art.
LYNETTE CORBY NUNGURRAYI
The multidimensionality of Lynette’s work shows through in her usually bold and vibrant executions. The colour she uses is dramatic yet balanced. When painting on linen or canvas, Lynette creates a blend of colour that adds depth and dimension to her work, creating an almost 3-D effect.
Eddie grew up on Victoria River Downs Cattle Station in the Northern Territory along with other families including the Wavehill boys.
Like many of the Indigenous men on the cattle stations, Eddie become a hardworking stockman on Vic Station, also helping his Grandfather at Beswick Station.
Whilst helping at Beswick Station his Grandfather Fred Blitner showed him the artefacts that the old men done and how they painted on bark. Eddie was keen to learn and started to help the old men. His cousin David Blanazi helped teach Eddie the old men ways and the stories.