Cynthia Burke - Warakurna Artists
Cynthia Burke is a Ngaanyatjarra artist, painting at the Warakurna art centre located near the Rawlinson Ranges on the NPY Lands in Western Australia. Cynthia paints aspects of her traditional country showing the changes that unfold with the seasons and the stages that the country goes through during the year.
Cynthia works at Ngaanyatjarra Media and hosts a daily radio program in her local language. She absorbed some of her artistic style from her mother Jean Burke (1945 – 2013) who lived and worked alongside her uncle, famed artist Tommy Watson. Jean Burke said about her traditional country and her impulse to paint ‘This is good country near Irrunytju- we want to go our grandmother’s and grandfather’s country. To the rockholes where they went, where they used to go around, rockhole to rockhole to get feed – hunt for kangaroos, emus, and goannas. Long time ago when piranpa wasn’t here.’
‘We want to do the paintings so we can teach the younger ones the old stories – so they can learn. If we finish, it’s their turn to do dot paintings, to tell the Dreamtime stories – keep the stories strong. That’s why we do the dot paintings, so they can say “That’s my country, that’s my mother’s country.” Like that.’
Cynthia Burke has a refined dot style that creates both the structural elements of her painting as well as the large blocks of colour created around the structural drawing. Cynthia’s paintings, although not directly telling Tjukurrpa or Law stories, do display a connection to the spirituality of the land of her forebears. Cynthia is one of the next generation of artists who are developing their careers in the NPY Lands, defining her style with great attention to detail and fine dot work.
Cynthia Burke says of her art practice – “Art is very important to me, I watched my mother all my life and I learnt how to make punu and painting. My mother also used to work for Warakurna Artists and art has played an important role in my life. I have worked really hard at taking what I learnt and developing my own style. I have been an artist for a long time, ever since I was watching and helping my mother, ever since I lived in Wingellina.”
“Exhibiting my art all over the world is important because I get to learn new things and show my work to a new audience. When I paint I make arial landscapes, like when you look out of the window of a plane. But I try to experiment with different colours and directions of the dots. I really think about the colours I choose and work with an idea of how it’s going to look at the end. All of my work is influenced by culture, country and what I have learnt from my family. I also made some new paintings using some metallic colours and worked really hard on making it my best. I also present a radio show every day for Ngaanyatjarra media, I make painting in the day when the art centre is open and at night in my home.” The exhibition ‘Cynthia Burke – Warakurna Artists’ also includes artworks by Carol Maayatja Golding and Myra Yurtiwa Cook, and will be open for viewing from 28 August until 30 September 2015. The exhibition is presented in association with Warakurna Artists.