KALTJITI ARTS is located in Fregon, a remote community approximately thirty kilometres south of the majestic Musgrave Ranges of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands) in the far north west of South Australia. The nearest regional centre is Alice Springs, 500 km to the north. Uluru is 350 km west.
The settlement in Fregon began as an outstation of the Ernabella mission in 1961. It was set up to provide additional employment for men by establishing a cattle station. The Anangu women who moved from Ernabella to Fregon, brought their art and craft skills with them. These included making moccasins from kangaroo leather, spinning sheep’s wool, making hooked rugs and weaving. Batik was introduced in the early 1970’s and painting in the late 1990’s.
The families of Kathy Marinkga and Matjangka Norris were part of this early settlement. As soon as young girls left school, they went to work at the ‘Ernabella-Fregon’ craft centre now known as Kaltjiti Arts. Over the years Kathy and Matjangka have continued to work in diverse mediums including making punu – wood carvings, tie dyeing T-shirts, painting on silk, screen prints, lino prints, etchings and painting.
Artists from Fregon have individual and unique styles. Initially, most artists were younger women or were from traditional country that was men’s business, and they did not paint tjukurpa. Instead, the women developed imagery which was based on the landscape and storytelling of everyday life called milpatjunanyi.
These intuitive, spontaneous images developed into colourful and complex works. The academic description of “meaningful marks or patterns” became the distinctive style known as walka. Originally used on weavings, these were transferred to all other mediums in particular batik and painting.
The contemporary, abstract interpretation of the landscape, environment and culture by Kathy Maringka and Matjangka Norris reflects their aboriginal heritage and response to traditional country and culture in the paintings exhibited in Katu munu Tjaru - Above and Below: of Sky and Land
Kaltjiti Art Centre is an artist owned enterprise. The members are anangu from the local Kaltjiti Community. A seven member Anangu artist board of management oversees the primary function of the art centre which is to support its artist members with the production and marketing of their art. Expression of story through art promotes cultural maintenance, artistic, social, and economic development.
In a remote area, employment is scarce and the art centre plays a vital economic role.
Authenticity and provenance for the artwork is guaranteed by the art centre.