Yinjaa-Barni Artists Paintings
19 July - 21 August 2013
Artists from the Yinjaa-Barni art centre feature their 5th exhibition at Japingka Gallery opening on Friday 19th July 2013. Three artists will fly from the Pilbara to attend the opening – Marlene Harold, Wendy Darby and Aileen Sandy, along with art coordinator Trish Floyd. The artists are the traditional owners from the Fortescue River area in the Pilbara, and their stories reflect the unique history and landscape of the area.
Aileen Sandy exhibits her dramatic works ‘Ochre through the rocks’ which capture the fractured rock-face typical of the Pilbara landscape. Alongside these are Clifton Mack’s paintings of the striking geology of the country, the folded and broken rocks, and his image of the Increasing Sites, the traditional ceremonial sites dedicated to promoting abundance in nature.
Marlene Harold includes her subtly painted images of the time at the beginning of Creation, the ancient stories of the Marrga, when the Pilbara landscape was made up of mist and water and grass – the colours creating an impressionistic vision of the birth of the country. According to traditional Aboriginal law, in the beginning the sky was very low. When the creation spirits, the Marrga, arose from the ground they raised the sky and the world out of the ocean. This creation story is called Ngurru Nyujunnggama – When the World was Soft. In the early morning, the mist seen over the water is the smoke from the Marrga’s breakfast fires. The Marrga gave names and form to the country and then to all the birds and animals. Finally they created the Ngaardangarli, the Aboriginal people.
In the local language yinjaa-barni means staying together. This is an apt name for the Aboriginal art centre situated on the main street of Roebourne in Dalgety House, a heritage listed cottage. Yinjaa-Barni Artists have operated from Dalgety House since 2007. Prior to this, they operated from a shed at the back of the Aboriginal Church in Roebourne, of which many of the artists are members. Two of the artists, elders Clifton Mack and Maudie Jerrold, had begun painting earlier at Cossack in 2001. Aboriginal artists generally in the Pilbara were late in joining the Aboriginal art movement that had started 30 years before in the Central Desert.
Over the last few years the Yinjaa-Barni artists have enjoyed growing success. Many have won major awards in large regional exhibitions, principally the Cossack Art Award, the largest regional art award in Australia. Clifton Mack and Allery Sandy have been finalists in the prestigious National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award in Darwin. Some have exhibited in Italy, Sydney, Perth and Fremantle at prestigious galleries.
One of the qualities that characterises the Yinjaa-Barni painters from the Pilbara is the strong individuality of each artist’s style. While they all represent their country and the sites and elements that have such personal meaning to them, they relate their stories on their canvases in strikingly distinctive ways.
Ten Yinjaa- Barni artists’ works will be on show until 21 August, at Japingka Aboriginal Art Gallery, 47 High Street Fremantle.
Further information is available on exhibiting artists on the following links