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Presented by:

Cover: Langaliki Langaliki, Ngayuku ngura (detail), 68 x 68 cm, acrylic on canvas, Ernabella Arts This page: Alice Nampitjinpa, Tjilkamala - Porcupine rockhole, 61 x 107 cm, acrylic on linen, Ikuntji

Liddy Napanangka Walker, Puturlu Jukurrpa (Mt Theo Dreaming), 122 x 61 cm, Warlukurlangu


Lynda Dorrington, Executive Director FORM

Power of Place brings together work from five community

Marlbatharndu Wanggagu; Once Upon a Time in the West

owned and operated art centres, illustrating the rich and

explored a different perspective on relationships to place

potent artistic exploration of place as it is understood and

through revealing the station lives of Banyjima, Yinhawangka,

envisioned by Aboriginal artists in the Desert region of

and Nyiyaparli people. This project illustrated how Aboriginal

Australia. The ways of imagining and understanding place

people’s intimate knowledge of land and waters was central

are visualized as a complex and interconnected web that

to the success of the station enterprise; it also demonstrated

encompasses society, spirituality, land, ecology, and natural

the change, flux and impact of colonization on relationships to

land management. In this exhibition, Country is the locus for

place and the contribution of Aboriginal people as a workforce

generating meaning, life, culture and community.

for the pastoral industry, which was profound but is largely unacknowledged. This project was a collaborative effort

FORM’s Indigenous Programming has explored the deep

between FORM, the IBN Aboriginal Corporation, Banyjima,

connection between place and culture, Country and

Yinhawangka, and Nyiyaparli people, and artists Reko Rennie,

community for over a decade. We have witnessed the

Claire Martin and Jetsonorama (Chip Thomas) the body of

thriving cultural and artistic life that exists in some of our

work was collected by state and national institutions.

nation’s most remote communities, which are often invisible or stereotyped for those who live in the cities. The Canning

FORM’s commitment to building platforms for creative

Stock Route Project celebrated the lives, heritage and

expression includes Spinifex Hill Studio, an Aboriginal art

community art centres of Western Desert Aboriginal peoples

centre located in South Hedland that opened early in 2014

from Country surrounding the Canning Stock Route. FORM’s

and works to support culture, livelihoods, and wellbeing.

programming has continued to work on addressing this gap

Our present and future programming continues to develop

by promoting connections between urban and regional areas

collaborative platforms that enable the distinctive and wealth

through developing projects in collaborative partnerships that

of Aboriginal creative expression to flourish. This exhibition

promote cross cultural exchange.

shows how the connection to place is expressed with resplendent aesthetic and artistic power.

More recently, Ngarluma Ngurra: Aboriginal Culture on the map developed in partnership with the Ngarluma community, Google Earth and FORM, explored new and innovative ways to document and record intangible cultural heritage through the creation of a digital map. This approach to cartography once again demonstrated that Aboriginal experience of the landscape is multi-facted, reflecting distinct and complex cultural values. This project evolved into an exhibition that integrated visualization technologies with cultural preservation, providing a tool for the non-Aboriginal audience to gain an understanding of Ngarluma history, experience and way of seeing Country in the Pilbara. At the same time, this has become an important tool for cultural maintenance, and protection that has been widely adopted in the northwest of Western Australia.


INTRODUCTION Sharmila Wood, FORM Curator

Maureen Baker, Ngayuku Mamaku Ngura (My Father’s Country), 120 x 150 cm, acrylic on linen, Tjungu Palya

Power of Place is an exhibition that explores the centrality and

approaching art making. Art centres are also spaces for

expression of place in the work of Aboriginal artists living and

people to gather, and to share. In communities where health

working in the desert art centres of Mimili Maku, Warnayaka,

and living conditions are on par with some of the world’s

Tjungu Palya, Ernabella Arts, Warlukurlangu and Ikuntji. In

most impoverished nations, art centres such as Ernabella

these works the complexity of place is revealed in a diverse

Arts, established in 1948, make a significant contribution

range of expressions that reveal the richness of Indigenous

to the cultural, social and economic well being of remote

creative and cultural traditions; many canvases display a

communities. Ernabella is an important community and

melodic patterning and bold gesture that resonates with

cultural institution; it provides a robust structure which has

the sensuality of colour and paint. Artists have continued to

the capacity for reinvention, whilst providing income, a space

demonstrate a willingness to synthesise and incorporate new

for professional arts practice and keeping knowledge.

influences, skills and experiences into their paintings. This has seen the desert art movement continually revive and renew. The ever-changing field of risk and innovation demonstrates that Aboriginal art continues to be one of the most dynamic art movements in Australia. The narratives around art respond to, and refract place. For instance, Betty Kuntiwa Pumani from Mimili Maku paints Antara a sacred and special place for Anangu people. It holds many tjukurpa (songlines) stories that cross the land. Antara has a very important rockhole where the women would perform inmaku pakani, a dance ceremony that would create enough maku for everyone. The painting also depicts the landscape which is surrounded with rocks, rockholes, creeks

“For many Indigenous Australians, person and place, or “Country”, are virtually interchangeable.”2

and mountains.1 Art centres have continued to provide platforms to facilitate training, and through artistic residencies or travel and professional development opportunities, play a key role in extending art practice and introducing new ways of

1 2

Betty Kuntiwa Pumani’s Story excerpt from the Mimili Maku Art Centre Certificate. Dr Jay Arthur, quoted in Christine Nicholls, ‘Dreamings and dreaming narratives: what’s the relationship?’ The Conversation, June 2014

At Warlukurlangu Art Centre, Manager Cecilia Alfonso

The artwork in Power of Place represents the desert in a

observes older artists singing the songs associated with the

bountiful vision, visceral with colour, and resplendent with

story they are painting. Song has been central to Indigenous

meaning, it is a stark contrast to the idea of the desert that

culture over millennia. It continues to be an important

the explorer J.W. Gregory described in the memoirs of his

invocation of place, memory, and the sacred, illustrating

journey into the desert, which was entitled The Dead Heart

the inter-disciplinary aspect involved in creating paintings

of Australia in which he concluded ‘there is nothing on earth

for some Aboriginal artists. Whilst distinct from traditional

more desolate than its stony plains and bare clay-pots.’3

and cultural song practice, an interesting pop tradition has

This artwork provides a compelling insight into the way of

emerged in the desert, supported by the Central Australian

being in, and imagining place from the traditional owners of

Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA). In the Power of Place

desert Australia.

a listening station plays bands such as Tjuntu Desert Band; Tjupi Band; Roadblock Band; Lajamanu Teenage Desert Band; Desert Mulga and Tjupi Band can be heard. These distinct sounds, often with a strong narrative element are often sung in a mix of English and Aboriginal language lending another element to understanding place. Whilst painting on canvas continues to dominate the desert art scene, artists welcome the opportunity to experiment with new media. Warnayaka Art Centre’s special project, YAMA demonstrates how communities use digital media to create unique artwork, highlighting the importance of kinship, Country and culture to belonging, identity and community in desert life. YAMA, the Warlpiri word for ‘reflection’, ‘mirror’ or ‘shadow’, is an experimental project combining elements of new media, digital art, and installation with traditional indigenous artforms of song, ceremonial dance, and Jukurrpa (dreaming) painting. In these digital works, place continues to appear as a central theme of work and as a nexus of encounter and trade, change and struggle. In new media, the confidence of connectivity to place, self, and to jukurrpa remains.

3 J.W.Gregory, Geologist and Explorer wrote ‘The Dead Heart of Australia’ in 1909.

Right: Betty Kuntiwa Pumani, Antara (detail), 198 x 121 cm, acrylic on linen, Mimili Maku



Eunice Napanangka Jack, Winbarrku - West of Kintore, 137 x 122 cm, acrylic on canvas, Ikuntji

Ikuntji Artists was first established in 1992 as a women’s

many people moved closer to their homelands and left

centre with the help of Melbourne artist Marina Strocchi.

Ikuntji/Haasts Bluff. However, some had married locals and

Strocchi came to run arts workshops for three months

stayed. This means a tremendous diversity of connections

and ended up staying in the community for 4 ½ years,

to various countries for artists from Ikuntji/Haasts Bluff,

establishing the art centre with a group of women, including

some reaching as far as the Docker River and Lake Mackay in

the late Esther Jugadai and the late Narputta Jugadai.

Western Australia, Pukatja (Ernabella) in South Australia, and

Artists such as Long Tom Tjapanangka and his partner Mitjili

north to Lajamanu in the Northern Territory.

Napurrula were key artists during this time. In these early years Ikuntji Artists became renowned for their vibrant

This history of being a crossway has influenced the art

colours and unique style of painting.

at Ikuntji. The connection between Ikuntji/Haasts Bluff community members and other communities is evident in

Since 1992 three generations of artists have followed on

their art. For example, founding member of the Papunya

from these early attempts. Eunice Napanangka Jack is the

Tula Pty Ltd, the late Uta Uta Tjangala, was the father of Alice

only founding member who is still alive and remembers

Nampitjinpa. Nampitjinpa experienced the development of

printing T-shirts and selling these at football games. The

the acrylic painting movement first hand through her father,

most recent development in the history of the art centre has

and is now one of the key artists painting at Ikuntji Artists.

been the exposure to non-Indigenous artists with a variety of

She was instrumental in the “Haasts Bluff – Kintore –Women’s

artistic backgrounds, skills and techniques. This has included

Project” in 1996, during which women at Kintore first started

residencies from street artist Julien ‘Seth’ Malland (aka

painting with acrylic on canvas and linen. Her paintings tell

‘Globepainter’), photographer Steve Pearce, jewellery-maker/

of her Country west of Kintore and the Tjilkamala (porcupine)

artist Kate Rhodes, multimedia and new media artists from

Tjukurrpa (Dreaming), the same Country that her father

Korea, and plein-air landscape artists Euan Macleod and Peter

painted. Her strong connection to Country, handed down

Hudson. These encounters have led to a revitalization and

to her by her father, inspires her as well as the younger

rejuvenation of the art movement.

generations of artists painting at Ikuntji Artists. Despite coming from different places and meeting here, and having

Through experiencing manifold techniques, media, and

various Tjukurrpa (Dreaming) connections to Country, this is

practices, some artists of the third and fourth generation have

the common thread, inspiration, and source of innovation for

successfully adopted new artistic mediums. In particular,

artists at Ikuntji Artists: Ngurra (Country).

photography has become a central practice. Christine Multa, granddaughter of the late Narputta Jugadai, won the Desart Artworker Photography Prize (2014) with her photograph My Grandmother Went Hunting, and has since been awarded an artist-in-residency at Cicada Press and the National Institute of Experimental Arts, University of New South Wales. When Multa commenced working for Ikuntji Artists she clearly stated, “I am an artworker and not an artist.” However, through awareness about the possibilities and opportunities of diverse art-making, Multa has begun to explore other mediums. Multa’s experience is one amongst many for a group of young artists, who are exploring creative expression away from canvas based approaches. They are emerging as the fourth generation of fine artists from Ikuntji/Haasts Bluff. Ikuntji/Haasts Bluff was established in the 1940s as the western outpost of the Finke River Mission, which had also set up Ntaria (Hermannsburg) in the late 19th century. The mission became a ration depot and the furthest point of settlement in the Western Desert. During the 1940s and 1950s, over 1000 people were living here and accessing its water sources. Once these dried up and Papunya was established

Chrischona Schmidt (PhD, Australian National University), Manager Ikuntji Artists. Thank you to all artists at Ikuntji Artists and community members who have generously shared their stories and experiences. References: Marina Strocchi 1995: Ikuntji – Paintings from Haasts Bluff 1992-1994, IAD Press, Alice Springs

This painting shows the artist’s father’s Country of Tjukurrla. It shows the many colours after the rain and the rolling sandhills - Tali. When it rains it makes a path for the rain water to go into the deep rockholes where the much needed water can stay for a long time.

Above: Eunice Napanangka Jack, Deep Waterhole - Tjukurrla, 60 x 90 cm, acrylic on canvas, Ikuntji

Alice Nampitjinpa, Tali Tali - Sandhills, 60 x 90 cm, arcyilc on canvas, Ikuntji

Alison Multa, My Grandmother Went Hunting, 50 x 33 cm, photograph on rag paper, Ikuntji



The concept of place takes on a radically new dimension in the context of an increasingly networked, digitized world. There is a feeling that the internet has shrunk the distances between various points on the globe, as well as the way we gather information and interact with each other beyond our own localities. In remote communities like Lajamanu situated almost 900 km south of Darwin, and 550 km from Katherine - the transition to a networked society has been sudden. Indeed, Lajamanu was only connected to reliable broadband internet in 2012. Coincidentally, I began working with the Warnayaka Art Centre in Lajamanu that same year. My initial body of collaborative multimedia work - Digital Desert - led to a publication in 2013 called Warnayaka Art Centre: Life in the Digital Desert and my involvement in the YAMA project, which was conceived by lead artist Neil Jupurrurla Cook in discussion with Warnayaka artists, Lajamanu elders, and the art centre manager, Louisa Erglis. Following a successful Australia Council application, Jupurrurla and emerging Warlpiri artist Isaiah Jungarrayi Lewis travelled to Europe to work with me for three weeks of mentoring, planning, and research. We visited significant museums - installations of digital and media art in Germany, Switzerland, and France, shot a mini-documentary of the trip, and devised a plan for the large-scale multimedia installation that would form the centrepiece of the project. In early 2014 I spent another month in Lajamanu working on the installation under Jupurrurla’s direction, collaborating with Warnayaka painters on new digital collages and local filmmakers, the youth centre, and school students on new video works, and assisting the art centre in collecting a database of manipulated digital images made by community members using their mobile phones. We hosted two YAMA exhibitions at the art centre - the first exhibitions of installation or digital art at Warnayaka - which were well attended by the community and involved songs, storytelling, video projections, and communal gathering.

Yama is a Warlpiri word denoting shade, a mirror-image,

Over the last 50 years, Australian Aboriginal cultures have

and reflection: it is both the place for and the action of

had one of the fastest rates of cultural change experienced

contemplation. The name was chosen by Lajamanu elders

by any society around the world. Within the mainstream,

and is remarkably apt for the project, which incorporates the

digital technologies have become so deeply embedded as

physical structure of the yujuku (humpy) as a meeting point

to be essentially invisible. Therefore, art from outside the

for both people and different forms of art, cycles of individual

urban mainstream is in a unique position to reflect upon the

artists producing works which they brought back to be

change brought about by advancing technology, and the

integrated into the main installation, and the accompanying

impact of these developments on culture, place, language, and

website with a parallel process of reflection and discussion

intercultural exchange and communication.

about community, technology, history, and progress. Internationally, digital art is at the forefront of the avant garde, Warnayaka artists skillfully combine traditional, modern, and

epitomising the way that art can reflect, describe, and even

contemporary artistic media in YAMA, maintaining a distinct

steer social phenomena. Experimental and digital Indigenous

aesthetic that is grounded in Country, culture, and law. This

art brings a vital new voice to the contemporary work of

masterful assimilation of new media into ongoing artistic

international digital artists and thinkers; artists working

practice is testament to the adaptability, openness, and

at the extremities of the network can highlight both the

innovation of the Warnayaka artists. YAMA underscores the new

groundbreaking possibilities therein and the fragmentation

possibilities for art-making and cultural expression presented

and fragility, the glitches and imperfections. Networks and

by digital media. During our work together Jupurrurla would

digital technologies can make us feel like the other side of the

often tell me that whether it was wood, ochre, acrylic paints,

world is within reach, like we can be omnipresent. Work like

or computers and projectors - all his art is about Country and

YAMA serves to remind us about the reality of distance, the


richness of cultural diversity, and also the hopeful possibilities for communication, learning, and exchange.

YAMA is an intensely place-specific reflection of life in a remote Indigenous community, told by the residents, and addressing issues about the preservation of culture and history, the ways in which digital technologies can both erode and/or be used to conserve Indigenous and marginalised cultures, as well as simply documenting and celebrating their way of life.

YAMA Exhibition, photograph Gretta Louw

Gretta Louw has a multidisciplinary practice which explores the potential of art as a means of investigating psychological phenomena, particularly in relation to new technologies and the internet. She is based in Berlin.

Painting by Neil Jupurrurla Cook on the Yujuku, photograph Michael Erglis


NEIL JUPURRURLA COOK This YAMA project is a way for me to remember and honour

During the rainy season we used to live in the humpy and hear

those times when I was a young boy. Back then we didn’t know

the rain pouring down on the iron outside - it was so nice. The

about cameras - even if the superintendent took a photo of us,

humpy kept us cool during the hot weather too. Sometimes

we didn’t know. Afterwards, when they showed the picture to

we had a doorway and put a sheet of iron on the ground just

us, we used to think, ‘Hey! How come? It was only a machine!’

outside, with wood on top for a fire, so that we could sleep

Now that we understand about all this, it’s good to make more

outside during the cold season. That was really good. We

videos and photos to give to our kids. All those who are related

had no lights, just firewood. Today we’ve got electricity and

to us - we want to give it to them, to show our relations about

we have to pay for it with our power card - even the lights

the stories, or to show our grandkids their ancestors. It’s about

and power to watch TV, and we have showers inside with hot

family, knowing your family lines and what you’re related to –

and cold water, washing machines and fridges. But in the old

your Jukurrpa (Dreaming); we are all related to our Country.

days there wasn’t anything like that. The old days were better because we watched the fire burning outside, and the stars

I want to make this project for my community, so that they can

shining in the sky - we went to sleep early, or told stories until

help me to keep culture strong. We show it to kardiya (non-

we went to sleep.

Indigenous) to show them how we feel about our culture and our history and Dreamtime stories, if they want to know about it.

In the 70s it started to change; we had streetlights along the roads, and they brought things to build new houses that we

We can’t go back to the way we used to live. But when we look

moved into. We still lived on the ground, but it was hard on

forward, we want to live in a house where we feel comfortable;

those floors in the house; at first I didn’t like sleeping on the

maybe we have an air conditioner or fan to keep us cool, or

cement. We used to dig a shallow hole in the ground outside

have a shower in the light, and a mirror to comb our hair or

and put a blanket down to sleep - even in the cold weather you

shave our whiskers. We can’t go back to the past anymore. We

could feel the hot heat coming up from the ground. In the cold

can get up and go to the toilet in the night - no snakes, nothing

weather we moved the iron and the dirt around to keep the

like that. Before, we used to feel the snake going past in the

heat in. We used the earth as a pillow, and made straight beds

night. We can’t hear the dogs anymore, they sleep outside, and

for ourselves so we didn’t sleep on the cement. Now, we are

we have television inside. We have a kitchen and everything

living in a new way - but we still think about the humpy, and

where we can cook on the stove. We’ve got to learn to live like

look back to our grandfathers and grandmothers, aunties and

we want to be.

uncles; how they used to live in the bush.

But it’s still important to remember Country, how to live there.

I feel sad to think about that because we aren’t living that way

That’s all in YAMA. Back as early as the 30s and 40s, then in

anymore. Now we pay rent. Even though I’m alright in my life,

the 50s and 60s, right through to the 70s - we were living in

deep in my heart, I still think back to those days.

humpies. They used to grab forked tree branches, six of them, and put a rail across, and sheets of iron they’d collect from the tip or anywhere, on the sides and up on the roof, and cover that with calico, to make those humpies tight and stable.

YAMA multimedia installation featuring Ngapa Dreaming, digital collage by Sharon Nampijinpa Anderson & Gretta Louw, photograph Gretta Louw

YAMA Exhibition, night, photograph Gretta Louw

MIMILI MAKU The community of Mimili is in the far north west of South Australia, at the base of the Everard Ranges, in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. It is 645km south of Alice Springs which is the nearest large town. Mimili is home to 350 Anangu people who speak a mix of Yankunytjatjara, Pitjantjatjara, Ngaanyatjarra and Luritja. The community was established in the early 1970’s after the land was returned to the traditional owners. The community occupies land that was previously part of Everard Park Station. Many of the older members of the community were employed on the station undertaking mustering, droving and breaking in horses for station work and racing. The art centre takes its name from the maku (witchetty grub) found in the roots of the Acacia Kempeana. The Maku Tjukurpa (witchetty grub songline) is a significant story from this area. Mimili Maku Arts is an Aboriginal-owned and governed arts business. The art centre involves men and women, young people and old people from the community and four surrounding homelands of Perentie Bore, Wanmara, Blue Hills and Sandy Bore. The strong abstract variations and complex depictions of country, tjukurpa and contemporary stories by artists at Mimili Maku generate unmatched interest from collectors nationally and overseas.

Kungka Kutjara ananyi tjukula Along time ago two women went to Apu Katu to the Hill around Antara they were singing Inma song and hittng the rock with a punu stick, and singing and Maku tjuta biggest mob of Maku come from the tree we call Maku tree Ilykuwara meaning Witchetty Bush, when we go out Makuing the next day we will gather a lot of Bush tucker. My mother Milatjari Pumani my mother taught me how to respect Maku Tjurkurpa for Mimili Community. I also teach my Daughter and son and grand children what Mimili Maku Tjurkurpa means for Maku Dreaming. I also dance inma when tourist come to Victory Well, I am proud to be custodian of that Tjukurpa Maku Dreaming.

Left: Ngupulya Pumani, Antara - Maku Dreaming, 152 x 122 cm, Mimili Maku

WARLUKURLANGU Warlukurlangu Artists is one of the longest running and most successful Aboriginal-owned art centres in Central Australia. It is an important repository of Warlpiri culture. Anyone in the communities of Yuendumu and Nyirripi can engage with the activities of the art centre. People also come from other nearby outlying communities, Yuelumu, Laramba, Willowra and Alice Springs to sell craft items through the centre. There are over 600 artists currently participating. Many are engaged daily whilst some may do only one or two paintings a year. Artists actively participate in the ongoing development of the organisation. It is not uncommon to find several generations of one family at the art centre at any one time, and grandparents painting with their grandchildren. In this way the younger generations are being instructed in the stories and designs of their traditional culture. Frequently, the older artists can be heard singing the songs associated with the

Sabrina Napangardi Granites, Mina Mina Jukurrpa (Mina Mina Dreaming) – Ngalyipi, 76 x 76 cm, Warlukurlangu

story they are painting. It is often said that by the very act of painting traditional Indigenous culture is being reinvigorated

The country associated with this Jukurrpa is Mina Mina,

and kept alive. Paintings embedded with desert tracks, iconic

a place far to the west of Yuendumu, which is significant

traces, mapping charts, animate and inanimate life, are

to Napangardi/Napanangka women and Japangardi/

colourfully set down for teaching new generations, aesthetic

Japanangka men. All of them are the custodians of the

pleasure, commerce, archiving and sheer joy.

Jukurrpa that created the area. The Jukurrpa story tells the journey of a group of women of all ages who travelled to the east gathering food, collecting ‘ngalyipi’ (snake vine [Tinospora smilancina]) and performing ceremonies as they travelled. The women began their journey at Mina Mina where ‘karlangu’ (digging sticks) emerged from the ground. Taking these implements the women travelled east creating Janyinki and other sites. Their journey took them far to the east beyond the boundaries of Warlpiri country. The ‘ngalyipi’ vine grows up the trunks and limbs of the ‘kurrkara’ (desert oak [Allocasuarina decaisneana]) trees. ‘Ngalyipi’ is a sacred vine to Napangardi and Napanangka women that has many uses. It can be used as a ceremonial wrap, as a strap to carry ‘parrajas’ (wooden bowls) that are laden with bush tucker and as a tourniquet for headaches.

Right: Lynette Nangala Singleton, Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) – Puyurru, 183 x 122 cm, Warlukurlangu

Paddy Japaljarri Sims, Yanjirlpirri Jukurrpa (Star Dreaming), 122 x 76 cm, Warlukurlangu

This painting tells the journey of Japaljarri and Jungarrayi men who travelled from Kurlurngalinypa (near Lajamanu) to Yanjirlypirri (west of Yuendumu) and then on to Lake Mackay on the West Australian border. Along the way they performed Kurdiji (initiation ceremonies) for young men. Women also danced for the Kurdiji. The site depicted in this canvas is Yanjirlypiri (Star) where there is a low hill and a water soakage. The importance of this place cannot be overemphasised as young boys are brought here to be initiated from as far as Pitjanjatjara country to the south and Lajamanu to the north. In contemporary Warlpiri paintings traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa, particular sites and other elements. During the performance of this ceremony the men wear Jinjirla (white feather headdresses) on either side of their heads. They also wear wooden carvings of stars which are also laid out on the ground as part of the sand paintings produced for business. Ngalyipi (snake vine), is often depicted as long curved lines, and is used to tie Witi (ceremonial spears) vertically to the shins of the dancing initiatives. These Witi are typically shown as long straight lines and the Yanjirlpirri (stars) are usually depicted as white circles or roundels.

The importance of this place cannot be overemphasised as young boys are brought here to be initiated from as far as Pitjanjatjara country to the south and Lajamanu to the north.

TJUNGU PALYA Tjungu Palya means working together in a good and happy way. At our art centre, artists from the three communities of Kanpi, Nyapari and Watarru come together to paint to earn money to support their families. In the past 8 years since its incorporation in 2006, Tjungu Palya has grown to be a dynamic and innovative community art centre. Located about 100 km south of Uluru (Ayres Rock), Nyapari is set at the base of the majestic Mann Ranges in the heart of country traditionally owned by the Pitjantjatjara people. These ranges known to Anangu as Murputja, likening the mountain to the bony ridge of a person’s spine, are the source of many water holes and traditional camping places. The homelands of Kanpi, Nyapari, Watarru, Angatja, Umpukulu and Tjankanu have grown from these seasonal camping places into permanent settlements. Over fifty artists from Murputja joined together with family members living in traditional country 180 km to the south at Watarru and created Tjungu Palya, which translates as Good Together and refers to this collaboration between the homeland.

Wati kutjara nyinanyi (two men are sitting). Kunkunpa (sleeping). They were painting inside the cave. When they woke up they were looking for the two women. The eldest is called Wanyinta and the younger Alartjatjarra. The two brothers are really wanampi (snakes men). The women had travelled a long way, east of Yalata. The men were searching everywhere for them. Tjukurpa pulkana mulapa. (This is a very important true story). This rockhole is close up to Nyapari.

Eileen Yaritja Stevens, Piltati, 850 x 840 mm, acrylic on canvas, Tjungu Palya

Iyawi Wikilyiri, Pukara, 150 x 120 cm, acrylic on canvas, Tjungu Palya

Maringka Baker, Ngura Kamanti (detail), 200 x 120 cm, acrylic on Belgian linen, Tjungu Palya

ERNABELLA ARTS Established in 1948, Ernabella Arts is Australia’s oldest, continuously running Indigenous Art Centre. Ernabella Arts is in Pukatja Community, at the eastern end of the Musgrave Ranges in the far north west of South Australia. Pukatja was the first permanent settlement on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands). The Presbyterian Board of Missions established the mission in 1937, and a craft room was established in 1948. The first craft products were hand-loomed woven fabrics and hand-pulled and knotted floor rugs with a unique pattern that became known as ‘the Ernabella walka’ or anapalayaku walka (Ernabella’s design). The centre’s inimitable reputation lies in the adaptability and innovation of the artists who have been introduced to many different mediums since the craft room began. Today its varied group of artists is a mix of young and old, men and women. There are very senior Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara men. The members of Ernabella Arts are always reinvigorating their centre, seeing it through its evolution from the first incarnation as a craft room, into a culturally strong contemporary art centre.

Pantjiti Lionel, Putitja, 68 x 100 cm, acrylic on canvas, Ernabella Arts

Bush. Punu pulka, tjulpu tjuta. Big trees, lots of birds.

Alison Munti Riley, Ngayuku Ngura, 68 x 100 cm, acrylic on canvas, Ernabella Arts

This is a depiction of the artists’ country. The different colours and designs represent variations in the landscape.

This painting depicts Kilkil in the artist’s Country, also known as Well 36 on the Canning Stock Route. It is a well kayili (north) of Well 33 (Kunawarritji) which is the aritst’s Ngurra (home) community. When the artist was younger she travelled all of this Country with her family during the pujiman (bush) days.

Niningka Munkuri Lewis, Mulga Park Road, 100 x 100 cm, acrylic on canvas, Ernabella Arts

This is a depiction of the artists’ country. The different colours and designs represent variations in the landscape. Langaliki Langaliki, Ngayuku ngura, 100 x 122 cm, acrylic on canvas, Ernabella Arts

Shorty Jangala Robertson, Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) – Puyurru, 152 x 152 cm, Warlukurlangu

FORM 357 Murray Street, Perth Western Australia, 6000 T: + 61 89226 2799 This exhibition was produced by FORM Curator: Sharmila Wood Designer: Edwin Sitt Acknowledgements: With thanks to the participating artists, and art centre managers at Mimili Maku, Warnayaka, Tjungu Palya, Ernabella Arts, Warlukurlangu and Ikuntji. We are grateful to Dr Chrischona Schmidt, Manager Ikuntji, Gretta Louw, Artist, and Neil Jupurrurla Cook for their articles about the Power of Place.

Project initiated and managed by FORM

Principal Partner

Government Support

FORM is supported by the Visual Arts and Crafts Strategy, an initiative of the Australian State and Territory Governments. FORM is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.







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Power of Place Catalogue  

Power of Place is an exhibition that explores the centrality and expression of place in the work of Aboriginal artists living and working in...

Power of Place Catalogue  

Power of Place is an exhibition that explores the centrality and expression of place in the work of Aboriginal artists living and working in...

Profile for form-wa