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Spinifex Artists - 20th Anniversary


Fri 10 Nov 2017, 10:00am–5:00pm
Wed 31 Jan 2018, 10:00am–5:00pm

Where: Japingka Gallery, 47 High Street, Fremantle, Western Australia

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free
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Listed by: japingka1

Japingka Gallery, Fremantle is ending its 2017 Exhibition programme with a very special celebration.

Japingka Gallery has proudly exhibited artworks in association with the very remote Spinifex Arts Project at Tjuntjuntjara (some 550 kms to the east of Kalgoorlie), for over 15 years and this special, major Exhibition which many of the Artists will attend marks a pivotal turning point in the lives of all those living and based at Tjuntjuntjara and the surrounding Great Victoria Desert.

It is now exactly twenty years since the Spinifex People took up paint and canvasses to support their Native Title Claim that the Spinifex People had registered two years earlier.

By creating detailed maps of their ancestral country, the artists built an irrefutable case for their millennia-long ownership, custodianship and habitation of the vast territory they had had to temporarily leave due to drought and to the nuclear testing that was carried out on their lands by the British Government in the mid 1950s.

This was the first successful Land Rights Claim in W.A. and the striking major paintings that were created to establish the claim, were subsequently and very generously, donated to the W.A. Museum.

It is perhaps ironic, but understandable that today, this remote community is now renowned around the world for its distinctive art rather than for its ground-breaking land rights win. In fact it is the very genesis of this unique Arts movement in mapping Country and ancient ties to the land which imbue their Art with so much power, authority and above all, integrity.

Their paintings are not painted for a market or changing tastes, but as a celebration and acknowledgement of their unrivalled knowledge and understanding of this remote country. These are joyful and confident paintings that are inherently uplifting and at the same time, breathtaking in their scope.

The Spinifex artists’ paintings maintain the mark of authenticity and authority that comes with total identification with their country and with the sacred creation stories that are embedded in it.

These qualities are strongly evident in Japingka’s new exhibition which includes these two remarkable combined works, the Women’s Collaborative and Men’s Collaborative, and individual paintings by major artists such as Byron Brooks, Roy Underwood, Simon Hogan, Tjaruwa Woods, Myrtle Pennington, Lawrence Pennington, Ian Rictor and Lennard Walker. Senior artists will attend the opening of their exhibition, which is presented in association with the Spinifex Arts Project.

Artists Ngalpingka Simms, Kanta Donnegan, Tjaruwa Woods and Lennard Walker will make the long expedition down to Fremantle to attend the opening along with art coordinators Amanda Dent and Brian Hallett.

Spinifex Arts Project Co-ordinator, Amanda Dent observed:
“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.”

Exhibition opens 6.30pm Friday 10th November, and runs daily through to the New Year.