Northern Alyawarra Artists
The painters of the northern Alyawarra language group have evolved a distinctive and strictly regional use of stories and Country to create their artworks. The artists live in communities around the Davenport Ranges including Epenarra, Imangara, Canteen Creek and various homeland outstations.
The nearest large town is Tennant Creek. The artists are from the northern reaches of the Alyawarra language group in Central Australia. They are related through four main clan groups.
These small communities are set in an arid landscape that is criss-crossed with watercourses, rocky hills, barren outcrops and valleys. When the land receives significant rain it transforms into a vibrant escarpment, set against the hues of trees, rocks and hills. At these times the waterholes connect and spill across the country. The main water holes in the Davenport Ranges retain good water for most of the year and some keep their precious water for many years at a time before running dry.
The artists’ paintings reveal their unique bond to their land, maintained through hunting, collecting bush tucker and medicines, storytelling and performing ceremonies and other cultural obligations. The artists’ lives continue to be enmeshed with their country as they have been for countless generations. The paintings capture the artists’ lands in detail, with strong but subtle colours that reflect the different moods and conditions they experience.
The artists have experienced the complete transformation of Aboriginal society, from elders who led a nomadic existence to the first meetings with white people, the mission era, the stolen generation and the younger people who now experience both traditional culture and the modern world. This exhibition provides a unique opportunity to see what the artists regard as a ‘welcome to country’ invitation.