The Pilbara – Yinjaa-Barni Artists
5 June - 18 July 2012
Yinjaa-Barni Artists are traditional owners from the Fortescue River region, and their paintings depict the remarkable country of the Pilbara in Western Australia’s north-west. The contrasts of the harsh environment with the hidden gorges of cool water, the seeds and flowers bursting out after rain, are moments that belong to the great Creation stories of the Marrga. This exhibition is presented in association with Yinjaa-Barni Art Centre.
When artists from Roebourne in Western Australia’s Pilbara region paint the broken rocky landscape of that harsh landscape, they mix it with extraordinary images of rockpools and seeds and flowers. The artists know the toughness of the country as well as the underlying regeneration that comes from the Marrga, or Creation narratives that underpin their Aboriginal culture.
The artists in Japingka’s The Pilbara: Yinjaa-Barni Artists are Yindjibarndi people of the Fortescue River region. Their emergence into the Aboriginal art world has been a recent journey made over the past ten years. For decades the indigenous people of the Pilbara had resisted joining the growing desert art movement, their leaders suspicious of the results of allowing the outside world any glimpse into the deeply held cultural traditions that underpin Aboriginal art and storytelling.
Recognition of the high-calibre of their art has been swift. Yinjaa-Barni manager, Patricia Floyd says: “The quality of the artists’ work is reflected in the large number of prizes they have won at the Cossack Art Awards, in the inclusion of senior artists, Clifton Mack and Allery Sandy, in the prestigious National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Art Award in Darwin, and in the honour they received when a painting by Marlene Harold was chosen to be presented to Queen Elizabeth on visit to Australia in 2011.”
So when the Yinjaa-Barni artists exhibit their work at Japingka Gallery, we see their world view and their bonds to the earth – abstracted views of the eroded rock faces alongside glowing green and blue visions of the Creation of the earth, from a time when “the world was soft’ . Clifton Mack and Aileen Sandy are the artists who bring us the jarring surfaces of the iron rich rockfaces. Marlene Harold and Allery Sandy give us the countering images of water and regeneration.
The artists share their storytelling traditions and their basic ties to the land, while their futures are also tied to their relationships with the expanding Pilbara mining industry. The artists show a vision of the Pilbara alive to the purpose of its aboriginal inhabitants – full of meaning, culture and history.
Further information is available on exhibiting artists on the following link: