The paintings from artists at Warakurna are looking beautiful in the gallery. The show is called “Welcome to Paradise: Paintings of Homelands.” That title comes from a discussion between artist Eunice Porter and Jane Menzies at Warakurna. Eunice said, “These are our homelands. This is where we hunt. This is like paradise to us.”
The paintings convey that great sense of ownership, connection and joy toward the land. We’ve had visiting artists at Japingka who’ve gone around even in the suburban world and said “Ah, Good country. Good country.” Meaning they’re looking at it almost like a farmer, they are seeing the productivity and the bounty of the land and seeing it as a resource that you’re connected to.
That’s the sense I get from these paintings. They’re rich in colour and design. They are often linked to Tjukurpa and significant sites belonging to the artist and their family. These include Walu Rockhole and some other significant sites.
There’s an enormous range of styles in the collection. Some of the artists are very senior. As artists get older they tend to make bigger more expressive marks and leave the fine detail aside. There is some beautiful artwork here by some of the senior men and women.
The colours are rich, the designs are extremely diverse. There is a sense of the different aspects of the country that appeal to people. They explore the things that make it like home, like paradise. As Jane Menzies says, “Special paintings about special places.” This is exactly what the artists are conveying about their life at Warakurna and adjacent communities.
Warakurna itself is a very remote location. It’s right near the border between Western Australia and the Northern Territory. It’s not easily accessible by any major road or from any city. It’s 1,000 kilometres away from any sizeable town.
The work is gorgeous, it’s rich and varied in colour and style. There are some examples that are like landscapes so you can see the rocks and the rock holes and the way people use country. Other works contain the Western desert iconography using circles and joined-up lines indicating pathways. These indicate how people travel across the country.
Don’t miss this stunning collection of works from Warakurna artists in Gallery One from Friday 23 March.