Small is Beautiful
Small is Beautiful brings together small-scale affordable artworks by Aboriginal artists and communities. Works represented include communities at Ampilatwatja in Central Australia and Buku Larrnggay Mulka at Yirrkala as well as artists of the Central Desert.
Yolngu artists from Yirrkala create totemic bird carvings and small ochre paintings on stringybark. The art centre Buku Larrnggay Mulka was established in 1976 at Yirrkala on the north-east tip of coastal Northern Territory. Buku Larrnggay Mulka is amongst the oldest Aboriginal art centres and has established its name for supporting substantial cultural projects and statements from bark painters and carvers from Yirrkala and another 25 outstations over a 200 km range.
Yolngu artists from this region use traditional designs that reflect each artist’s country and clan group, which signifies land ownership, social identity and Ancestral law from the Wangarr Creation time. Waka Munungurr expresses it this way – “That represents who you are and what we are and what clan we come from.”
Ampilatwatja artists of Central Australia are recognised for colourful landscapes that depict the bush medicine plants and other forms of bush tucker collected on their homelands. These small 30 cm square paintings are lively evocations of the country and the resources it provides to the people.
Significant artists of the Western Desert have also created small scale works that show the essential desert storytelling and map-making practices used by Aboriginal people over a wide area. Contributing artists include Thomas and Walala Tjapaltjarri, Marlene Young Nungurrayi and Joylene Reid Napangardi, while contributions from Utopia artists include Gracie Morton, Jeannie Mills Pwerle and Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarray.