Painting on Country - Utopia Artists
21 September – 6 November 2018
Utopia artists set out on a conscious journey to link their land to their art when in the 1970s they began art development projects to make sustainable creative work on their remote homelands. This project was made during the process that was to lead to the granting of title to their native homelands. Its purpose was to provide income to indigenous people living away from towns and settlements that offered job infrastructure.
The outcome was highly successful and lead to a multi-generational involvement in the arts that produced income for hundreds of people. Often grandparents, parents and children were all deeply involved in the business of producing art and in the process extending the cultural knowledge held by the elders to younger generations.
The Anmatyerre and Alyawar people of Utopia maintain their strong connections to land, ceremony and song. These elements are embedded in their artwork as a means to establish and reinforce their identity in cultural heritage and strengthen their cohesion as custodians of their lands.
The shimmering and expansive paintings that are made of fine dots reflect the desert homelands and the stories that give deep meaning to all elements of the land and its resources. It is part of a tradition of knowledge and identity that defines the people of the lands and gives such a distinct quality to the artistic statements that they create. Contributing artists include Kathleen Ngal, Cowboy Loy Pwerle, Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarray, Gracie Morton Pwerle, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Abie Loy Kemarre, Galya Pwerle, Polly Ngale and Nancy Kunoth Petyarre.