KALTUKATJARA LADIES! COLLABORATIVE WORKS WITH FEATURED ARTISTS (L-R) – LEONIE BENNETT, MARILYN BERT, JULIEANNE BOURKE, DIANNE WAMANTJANGU, MIRIAM RENNIE, MARLENE CONNELLEY. IMAGE COURTESY OF TJARLIRLI AND KALTUKATJARA ARTS.
YAAMA GANU IS DELIGHTED TO PRESENT KALTUKATJARA LADIES. THE VERY FIRST GROUP SHOW OF NEW WORK ENTIRELY FROM THE DOCKER RIVER STUDIO.
SHOW OPENS THURSDAY 2ND MARCH 2023
E – TOBY.OSMOND@AES.ORG.AU
P – +61 2 6794 3280
THANK YOU TO THE KALTUKATJARA LADIES AND TJARLILRI FOR THE OPPORTUINTY X
“When I am painting, I am thinking about the Tjukurrpa that all the ladies know – the Kungka Kutjara. This country has strong culture. I am painting those ladies travelling through that gap near Kaltukatjara. The ladies came all the way from South Australia. Those ladies are travelling through the landscape and they are changing as they travel.” – Marlene Connelly, Kaltukatjara artist.
Tjarlirli and Kaltukatjara Art are based in the Ngaanyatjarra and Pitjantjatjara lands of the western desert, with two studios straddling the NT-WA border. While Tjarlirli Art was first established in the community of Tjukurla in 2006, the Kaltukatjara (Docker River) studio opened its doors in 2016 in response to community and peak body requests for an art centre located in this community full-time. However, the artistic practice of Kaltukatjara artists stretches back long before this, as many artists travelled to work for different community art centres or as independent sellers, and as they continued to practice traditional art and craft forms. This show marks the first Tjarlirli and Kaltukatjara Art exhibition of work wholly by Docker River studio artists, in order to celebrate their incredible development and contributions to the organisation.
The seeds for this show grew from a bush trip in August 2022, when a large group of women artists from Kaltukatjara (Docker River) travelled out to a place known as Eagle Valley to paint, talk story, and spend time on country. The artists – a mix of senior grandmothers, established artists and young women just beginning their practice – have created two large-scale collaborative works depicting the Kungka Kutjara (Two Sisters) story, whose songline runs through the country close to Kaltukatjara. Like many Tjukurrpa (Dreaming) stories, Kungka Kutjara conveys important cultural and spiritual knowledge, and describes how the land came to be the way it is. These two paintings depict the sisters’ travels across the vast desert country in ancestral times, visiting and creating features like waterholes, mountains, and creeks in the landscape as they move. The centrality of this and other Tjukurrpa in Anangu women’s lives and the continued conveyance of knowledge through artistic forms including visual motifs, song, and dance emphasises its immense cultural significance for Pitjantjatjara and Ngaanyatjarra women.
In addition to these two central canvases, this exhibition contains an array of works from the Kaltukatjara women artists. Created over the course of 2022, these paintings display a wide array of styles and stories. While many of the works depict the Kungka Kutjara story, other artists have chosen to paint other key women’s dreaming sites and stories. From the dazzlingly colour dry-brush mapping of senior artist Bonnie Connelly, to the thick impasto application of her daughter Marlene’s depictions of the two sisters, to the tiny, intricate punu (wooden stick) dotting of Denise Brady’s works referencing contemporary Anangu life, this collection of works is a testament to the diversity and creativity of these contemporary women artists working to preserve and honour the culture and stories of their families.