ReDot Fine Art Gallery is honored to host a ground-breaking show “Nganampa Ngura” (Our Place) by Ninuku Arts. Deriving from a tiny community in the north-western corner of South Australia, Ninuku Arts is one of the most exciting art centres to emerge over the past 5 years. They are an important part of the celebrated district known as the APY (Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara) Lands which has become known as one of the most dynamic in the whole of Australia, thrusting itself onto the national stage over recent years.
Ninuku Arts is an Indigenous-owned organisation based in a tiny community called Kalka. The majority of the artists in the district speak Pitjantjatjara. It is a place of colour and beauty – rocky mountain ranges, cavernous ravines, desert flowers, red earth, narrow trees and flourishing foliage, covering much of the ground. It is not surprising that a lot of the artwork from this area uses a vibrant palette of rich colour.
The “Nganampa Ngura” (Our Place) exhibition boasts an exciting group of master works painted mostly by the senior men and women from the Ninuku Art Centre. They are the traditional owners of the land and they hold the stories of the country deep within their hearts. As the name ‘Our Place’ suggests, this exhibition is a subtle statement about ownership and history, but also a joyous collection of paintings acting as an invitation to the viewer – an invitation onto the land of the old men and women. As well as teaching the international audience about the culture, the show also aims to teach the emerging artists from the district. It is critical to the continuation of this great indigenous culture that it continues to be taught to the future generations. As senior man and Ngangkari (traditional healer) Harry Tjutjuna describes, “Old generation are here now and I am old generation too. Lots of old generation have passed away. What can we do? What happens when I pass away? New generation got to learn Tjukurpa (Dreaming Stories).”
Harry Tjutjuna is the most senior of the artists exhibiting. His unique style and approach has made him one of the most sought-after practicing artists in the country. He paints a range of stories with both authority and courage. He is known for the drippy, painterly qualities in his technique, and is a natural colourist often choosing a palette of vibrant, poppy hues. Stanley Young also uses lots of colours but he lays them down with precision and a steady hand into a composition of structure and minimalism.
Senior artist Jimmy Donegan is another artist inspired by the colourful landscape. Colloquially known as Mr. D around the art centre, Donegan uses a plethora of colours to depict his Tjukurpa (or Dreaming stories). Donegan continues to be celebrated as one of the most sought-after artists from the district to Australian and International collectors, galleries and institutions, since winning the prestigious Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Telstra Art Award in 2010.
The women featured in the show definitely lean towards a more feminine palette. The most revered female artist at Ninuku Art Centre is Puntjina Monica Watson. Her works have a stand-alone quality which commands the attention of the audience. She has a quirky approach to composition, creating a border or frame with every painting dotted heavily with lines of bright colourful dots.
This exhibition is a true celebration of the men and women’s contribution to culture and art. It showcases an exceptional and masterful collection of works – many of which are large-scale – to give the audience powerful insight into their place, their country and their story. The exhibition will be accompanied by landscape photographs from the district, portraits of the artists and documentation which will give the viewer great context for the paintings. It will be the first independent exhibition by Ninuku Arts internationally and it will be held in Singapore. The exhibition opens Wednesday 23rd May at 7.30pm.