Andrea Adamson Tiger is a Pitjantjatjara artist born at Amata community on the APY Lands. Her paintings depict the Seven Sisters Dreaming, a songline that crosses her country. Japingka’s David Wroth walks through some of the major works in her upcoming first solo exhibition in Western Australia.
Andrea Adamson Tiger has created a beautiful series of paintings on the Seven Sisters Dreaming story from her country on the APY lands. The style is highly recognisable as the work of Pitjantjatjara artists. The use of this type of iconography spreads right across into Western Australia and includes locations like Spinifex Artist group. The story is an intriguing and quite multifaceted one. It is the story of sisters crossing the country as they are pursued by Wati, the man who is the ineligible pursuer for the kinship group of the women.
Their stories trace their journey as they cross the country and create aspects of the landscape. This makes for the most beautiful subject matter in Andrea’s paintings. The featured work of the exhibition is a gloriously warm and harmonious painting, working in colours of oranges, mauves, reds, and browns. The design just draws you in. The colours are extraordinary and show different aspects of the Seven Sisters creation site. There are tracks indicating movement, there are tracks indicating sites that may be rock holes and hills. The whole universe created by these Ancestor women is touched on in these paintings. The collection of works that Andrea has put together in this series are unique and outstanding.
The paintings in this exhibition may follow the same storyline however different sections show parts of a bigger narrative. The colours of the paintings really dominate the mood and dominate the sense of landscape. The painting that we’re standing in front of is quite moody as though it’s a night painting. It’s got big purples and inky blues in there mixed with some greys and pinks.
The sense is that this story is an ongoing one. The Seven Sisters are embodied in the Pleiades star constellation. It travels across the sky mirroring the women’s journey across the land. There’s this constant connection between the time of year and the location of the stars, the day and night story. This painting strikes me as a dusk or nighttime story but still relating to a similar set of events from this great narrative.
Andrea has an extremely prestigious artistic history. Her grandfather was the famous Tiger Palpatja, and his subject matter is very identifiable and unique. His painting style was often encompassing the great snake with all the water holes and creation sites within the country. Andrea has painted an artwork which is very different to all the other pieces in the exhibition. I would read this as a tribute to her grandfather because the style indicates his way of painting. He had a very loose and over-painting style, building up textures, and lots of concentric lines, curving lines, parallel lines that build up the surface of the painting. This is Andrea’s wonderful acknowledgement to her grandfather’s story and her own kinship ties to that very country.
The series of four blue paintings that Andrea has included in the collection give a very different colour feel to the other range of works. While most of them include the strong reds and oranges identified with desert colours, her blue paintings still have some reds, but the secondary colours are more likely to be black and white and ashy tones of grey. This gives the work a very cool feeling compared to the heat and warmth that comes from the red paintings. The blue paintings are very beautiful and they create a completely separate mood from the other works in the exhibition. They still have the strong symbolic iconography where we can see the travel lines with the Sisters going across the country.
There is one smaller painting in the exhibition that is 60 centimetres square. It has a really interesting colour construction that makes us think of night falling over the desert. On one side, you’ve got this deep purple-blue colour, and on the other side, you’ve got the orange-red tones. It’s as though the sun is setting, it’s transforming the desert into the shadows of the evening. The dark shadows are picking up the sand hills and the folds of the hills. Part of the painting is in deep shadow and part of the painting remains in brighter light. It’s almost like a sunset landscape containing the symbols from the Seven Sisters story within it.
- View the exhibition: Andrea Adamson Tiger – Seven Sisters Dreaming 16 Nov 2018
- Artist profile: Andrea Adamson – An Artist Profile