The painting table of multiple-prize-winning artist Shirley Purdie’s at the Warmun Art Centre in the Kimberley, Western Australia. The centre was created in 1998 by Gija elders who were founding members of the contemporary painting movement here. The centre has grown to become one of remote Australia’s most significant cultural institutions. It maintains and promotes Gija art, culture and language – it is owned by the people and returns its profits to the community.

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    Gloria Morales is the assitant manager of the Warlukurlangu Artists centre, located in Yuendumu, 290km north-west of Alice Springs. Famous for its bright works of art and opened in 1985, Warlukurlangu is among the oldest and most successful Aboriginal-owned art centres in the Red Centre.

     

     

     

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    Senior Walpiri artist Judy Napangardi Watson, from the Yuendumu community and aged about 80, places her canvases on the ground and climbs atop to paint them, akin to the traditional approach of desert artists who painted while sitting on the ground. Using a twig to apply acrylic paint, Napangardi’s complex compositions are created by the rapid application of dots that overlap to form lines.

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    Kathy Ramsey, pictured with her artwork, is the daughter of senior Gija artists and elders Mona and Rammey Ramsey, and among the next generation of artists honing skills at the Warmun Art Centre in the East Kimberley. 

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    Major Australian Aboriginal artworks created specially for the Musee du quai Branly in Paris, France – such as this black and white signature work from Ningura Napurrula – are one example of how the industry has exploded onto the international art scene. Contemporary Aboriginal art is the only significant art movement to have ever emerged from Australia, say experts. Napurrula was one of the women who began painting for the Papunya Tula Artists, who are credited with the birth of the movement in 1971.

     

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    Gija artist Shirley Purdie discusses her new series of works with linguist Anna at the Warmun Art Centre in the East Kimberley.

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    Shirley Purdie’s latest work in progress at Warmun Art Centre in the East Kimberley. Her current series depicts plant varieties found on Gija Country. A book showcasing this art will be published with explanatory text in both English and the critically endangered Gija language – an important contribution to the documentation of culture.

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    Preston Lee works on a painting at the Warlukurlangu centre in the Northern Territory. More than 600 artists currently participate from the Yuendumu and Nyirripi communities. One aim of Warlukurlangu is to share Warlpiri culture and increase awareness about Aboriginal culture generally.

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    The Warlukurlangu Art Centre is found 290km north-west of Alice Springs on the Tanami Road. Yuendumu is a large Aboriginal community with up to 1000 residents from several language groups all with a strong and cohesive traditional culture.

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    Art work drying at the Warlukurlangu Art Centre in Yuendumu, NT.

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    Paintpots at Warlukurlangu centre hint at the bright range of colours that the artists of Yuendumu employ in their works. Walpiri elders began to paint ceremonial motifs on canvas in the 1980s, which created the art movement here. One of the first paintings was on a door of the Yuendumu school, which later led to the famous Yuendumu Door series of works.

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    The art movement of the Hermannsburg School began at the Hermannsburg mission 125km west of Alice Springs, in the 1930s. Today new painters here (pictured) continue the famous watercolour style of Albert Namatjira, but are evolving it in new ways.

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    Iris Bendor, manager of Ngurratjuta Iltja Ntjarra /Many Hands Art Centre in Alice Springs, holds up the work of Benita Clements, the great-granddaughter of Albert Namatjira.

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    The opening night at Tarnanthi, the inaugural Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in Adelaide in October 2015. Three hundred artists from across Australia contributed works to Tarnanthi (pronounced ‘tar-nan-dee’), which saw more then 50,000 people attending events in the South Australian capital.

     

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    Gija contemporary artworks on display and ready for sale at the Warmun Art Centre in the East Kimberley.

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

    A paint-splattered apron is carried off by a gust of wind at the Warlukurlangu Art Centre in Yuendumu.

    Photo Credit: Frances Mocnik

GALLERY: Modern Aboriginal art

By AG STAFF | February 24, 2016

Emerging from the world’s oldest living culture, contemporary Aboriginal art has taken to the global stage to tell tales of ancient landscapes and storylines. Read our full story on the history and future of Aboriginal art in AG #131, available now.