Minymaku Arts, at Amata in South Australia, was renamed Tjala Arts in January 2006 to reflect the diversity of the artists working at the centre that now includes women and men, young and old.
Tjala translates to ‘honey ant,’ a favourite traditional bush food and ancestor relating to local country.
They are a ‘community-based’ Aboriginal art centre owned and managed by Anangu (people).
The art centre is located in Amata, a community in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara/Yankunyjatjara (APY) Lands in the far Northwest of SA.
Tjala Arts represents around 125 artists and crafts people including painters, women who make baskets and punu (wooden sculptures) and men who make wati punu (spears and boomerangs).
They come from Amata and surrounding homelands including Tjurma, Katjikuta, Tupul and Rocket Bore.
In 2003 Tjala Arts was the first art centre in the APY Lands to persuade the men to paint their Tjukurpa (creation stories) in non-traditional materials.
The artists welcome innovation and artistic development.
As well as painting, they make prints such as sugarlifts, perspex etchings and monotypes.
Punugraphs (woodblocks) are an extension of punu where the image is burnt into a plywood sheet with hot wire: these woodblocks are unique to Tjala Arts.
The artists at Tjala Arts have developed a distinctly modern approach to their expression, perspective of traditional stories and their connection to country.
The strong stylistic variations between the artists and their works as well as their use of concentrated colour have become our trademark.
The paintings are sometimes difficult for collectors and critics to pigeon-hole because of their individuality.
These strong stylistic variations between the works of the artists at Tjala Arts have become their trademark and continue to generate unprecedented interest from collectors and galleries, nationally and internationally.
From simple beginnings in 1999 they have grown into one of South Australia’s premier Aboriginal art centres and a financially secure ‘community-based enterprise’, albeit small..