Senior Artist Monica Watson working in the Ninuku Studio
Ninuku Arts is a wholly-Indigenous owned and governed Art Centre which supports artists from two communities – Pipalyatjara and Kalka. Each have populations of around 100-150 Anangu and the majority are Pitjantjatjara speakers – Anangu simply means ‘people’ in Pitjantjatjara. Both communities are located in the far north-western corner of South Australia, near the tri-state border of South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory. The two communities, fourteen kilometres apart, are surrounded by the rolling, rocky hills of the Tomkinson Ranges and are part of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. Both Kalka and Pipalyatjara are peaceful places. This is a result of strong governance, cultural engagement and pride among local Anangu.
The Art Centre itself is located in Kalka and is housed in a mud-brick building (the only one in the Lands), which was built as an office in the early 1980’s by Anangu and white staff, and has since been extended to accommodate the growing number of artists keen to paint. A silver bullet caravan (formerly a mobile health unit) is also located on site, and has become a place for some artists to paint, mostly during the winter months while the morning sun warms the deck. Despite being the most remote art centre on the APY Lands, having limited working space and access to services, Ninuku Arts has continued to grow in success with each year. The artist’s commitment to both the art centre and painting is unflappable. The art centre prides itself on its inclusivity (providing opportunities for all generations) and embracing individuality in artists.