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Spinifex Arts Project – 20th Anniversary

Spinifex Arts Project – 20th Anniversary

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10 Nov – 20 Dec 2017

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Spinifex Arts Project – 20th Anniversary

Twenty years ago the Spinifex People of the Pitjantjatjara lands in the Great Victoria Desert near the border of Western Australia began an epic journey of recovery and restoration. Moved off their ancestral homelands by the disruption of the missile and nuclear tests of the 1950s, they had determined to relocate to the places and sites their forefathers knew.

Moving from mission settlements located outside the borders of their country back onto their homelands in the 1980s was the first step. Then in 1997 Spinifex Arts Project was established to map the connections between the people and their lands, to record and document their generational claim to the desert country. The culmination of their Native Title claim finally came with Federal Court ruling in 2000 and the Spinifex lands became the first Native Title granted in Western Australia. The original painted maps linking the lands and the birthplaces of the people were gifted to the Western Australian Museum.

Spinifex arts continued to have a major role to play in the community, to engender and celebrate the cultural heritage of the community, and to pass this on. “The paintings are in fact a statement not just of the artists’ knowledge and love of country, but of a determination to paint and articulate in a contemporary form the traditional ways, laws and paths which the next generation will follow and in turn come to hold.” (1)

The work of Spinifex artists gives a powerful sense of the custodial links between the people and the mythological sites on their country. The strength of colour and the complex structures of the artworks brings us into the world of these traditional desert owners. A large 2.9 metre collaborative men’s painting shows the schematic structure the people hold of their Country and all its connections.

Arts Co-ordinator Amanda Dent has been working with the community for the past 5 years. She describes the approach of the artists – “When artists are painting that, they’re drawing on the Creation stories, the law, the religion. This spirituality is part of everyday life for remote desert people. Many Western people can experience religion where the secular and the religious can be quite separate ways of being in the world. For Anangu people it’s all one. The religious isn’t put up on a pedestal, it’s not a high and mighty thing. It’s part of the mundane, it’s part of everything.

That’s how Anangu people see the world, so when they are painting they are drawing back to those roots of where they’re born. The artists don’t plan the work out, they sit down and start painting their country and their thinking. They’re in the zone. It’s almost like a meditation because they go back to that place, they’re in country, they’re painting those rock holes, and they’re thinking about those stories and the Creation Beings.”

This beautiful exhibition of desert paintings is on show at Japingka Gallery from 10 November to 20 December 2017. Artists Ngalpingka Simms, Kanta Donnegan and Tjaruwa Woods will attend the opening along with art coordinators Amanda Dent and Brian Hallett. The exhibition is presented in association with Spinifex Arts Project.

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Ngura Alinytjara by Mens Collaborative

Mens Collaborative  |  Ngura Alinytjara

Jap 014205  |  acrylic on linen  |  290 x 200 cm

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Wati Kutjara by Ian Rictor

Ian Rictor  |  Wati Kutjara

Jap 014224  |  acrylic on linen  |  200 x 137 cm

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Kuru Ala by Womens Collaborative

Womens Collaborative  |  Kuru Ala

Jap 014204  |  acrylic on linen  |  230 x 200 cm

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Lingka by Simon Hogan

Simon Hogan  |  Lingka

Jap 014291  |  acrylic on linen  |  200 x 137 cm

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Kanpala by Myrtle Pennington

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Jap 014215  |  acrylic on linen  |  137 x 90 cm

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Kalaya Tjutaku Ngura by Tjaruwa  Woods

Tjaruwa Woods  |  Kalaya Tjutaku Ngura

Jap 014226  |  acrylic on linen  |  200 x 137 cm

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Kanpala by Myrtle Pennington

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Jap 014212  |  acrylic on canvas  |  60 x 75 cm

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Minyma Tjuta Tjukurpa by Kanta Kathleen Donnegan

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Jap 014221  |  acrylic on linen  |  137 x 90 cm

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Lake Baker by Timo Hogan

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Jap 014199  |  acrylic on linen  |  230 x 200 cm

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Wati Kutjara by Byron Brooks

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Jap 014225  |  acrylic on linen  |  110 x 85 cm

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Pirapi, Tjuntjun munu Karnka by Kanta Kathleen Donnegan

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Jap 014222  |  acrylic on linen  |  137 x 110 cm

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Wati Ngintaka by Patju Presley Stanley

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Jap 014198  |  acrylic on linen  |  200 x 137 cm

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Pukara by Lawrence Pennington

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Jap 014219  |  acrylic on linen  |  137 x 90 cm

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Tjuntjun by Kanta Kathleen Donnegan

Kanta Kathleen Donnegan   |  Tjuntjun

Jap 014223  |  acrylic on linen  |  200 x 137 cm

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Pukara by Winmati Roberts

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Ilkuwara by Myrtle Pennington

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Jap 014211  |  acrylic on linen  |  60 x 75 cm

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Lingka by Simon Hogan

Simon Hogan  |  Lingka

Jap 014206  |  acrylic on linen  |  110 x 85 cm

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Pukara by Roy Underwood

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Jap 014209  |  acrylic on linen  |  200 x 137 cm

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Pukara by Lawrence Pennington

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Jap 014220  |  acrylic on linen  |  60 x 75 cm

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Ilkuwara by Ned Grant

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Jap 014210  |  acrylic on linen  |  137 x 90 cm

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Lake Baker by Timo Hogan

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Jap 014202  |  acrylic on canvas  |  110 x 85 cm

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Mulpulya by Myrtle Pennington

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Jap 014213  |  acrylic on linen  |  110 x 85 cm

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Wayiyul by Ngalpingka Simms

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Jap 014217  |  acrylic on linen  |  200 x 137 cm

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Kanpala by Myrtle Pennington

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Wanampi Kulkaintinya by Lennard Walker

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Wayiyul by Ngalpingka Simms

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Jap 014216  |  acrylic on linen  |  137 x 90 cm

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Miramiratjara by Roy Underwood

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Pirapi by Kanta Kathleen Donnegan

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Jap 011050  |  acrylic on linen  |  137 x 90 cm

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Kamanti by Tjaruwa  Woods

Tjaruwa Woods  |  Kamanti

Jap 014227  |  acrylic on linen  |  110 x 85 cm

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Lake Baker by Timo Hogan

Timo Hogan  |  Lake Baker

Jap 014201  |  acrylic on linen  |  110 x 85 cm

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Kungkarangkalpa by Lennard Walker

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Ngalkuritjara by Yarangka Elaine Thomas

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Lake Baker by Timo Hogan

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Miramiratjara by Roy Underwood

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