The Spinifex People survived in an arid but beautiful environment, equipped with the necessary skills required for such a life. A spiritual people guided by cultural law were able to exist virtually unchallenged and unchanged until the 1950’s when the British atomic testing began at Emu Fields and later at Maralinga.
These tests directly displaced the Spinifex People and it would be over thirty years before their traditional lands were finally returned to them, and they were able to again access the country that formed them from birth. The landscape holds the culture of the Spinifex People and their daily interactions are governed by the moral compass of the first beings who created the physical realm. With story interwoven in song and dance, the country maps a tangible way forward for the people to reflect and learn upon.
It is this country, this spiritual landscape that defines and permeates the artists’ work. Although abstract in appearance, each artwork holds part history, part ceremony and part country. The artists read the scene from a sense of belonging, of being interwoven into the fabric of the landscape they create. On our Country is a major statement by Spinifex Artists, on view at Japingka Gallery from 6 November to 21 December.