In this moment when, in the Western world at least, the tide is turning on what is permissible in men’s sexual approaches to women, it is fascinating to be taken into ancient scenarios in exactly these gender borderlands, writes KIERAN FINNANE, after her visit to the National Museum of Australia’s major exhibition, Songlines, Tracking the Seven Sisters.
The old men from Amata stole the show. It wasn't just their charisma but their focus – the young people of their community – and their enquiring and imaginative outlook. Frank Young, Hector Burton and Ray Ken spoke to their ideas and work at the Desert Mob symposium on Friday. Willy Kaika and Barney Wangin were present in the auditorium and the men were joined on stage by a collaborator, the much younger installation artist Jonathan Jones, a Wiradjuri man from NSW.
The men are still painting – all of them except Young have work in the Desert Mob exhibition – but they have also turned their attention to teaching their young men to make their traditional weapons, kulata (spears) and spear-throwers. As they worked they saw "how strong and powerful" the weapons would look in their art work, said Young, director of Tjala Arts and chairman of the community, who translated for the other men. They began to imagine a room in a gallery "full of spears, thousands of spears".
KIERAN FINNANE reports from Desert Mob, the symposium and the exhibition.
Pictured, from left: Jonathan Jones, Ray Ken, Hector Burton and Frank Young. In the photograph behind them, Willy Kaika (left) with Burton.
Photo: Painting by Telstra Award winner for 2011, Dickie Minyintiri.
All year Alice Springs has had its window onto the Aboriginal art of the moment, that outpouring of cultural affirmation and expressive brilliance coming from 'The Lands' – home to the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara peoples. Apart from his stockroom shows, the astute Dallas Gold of Raft Artspace has had his eyes fixed firmly on the south-west. The timing for his current show from Ernabella Arts couldn't have been better. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
SLIDE SHOW: Kapi Tjukula (Waterholes) by Dickie Minyintiri • the artist with his Telstra winning work, Kanyalakutjina (Euro tracks), photo courtesy MAGNT • ceramic workshop at Ernabella, from left Gordon Ingkatji (his piece is not in the Raft show), Andy Tjilari, Dickie Minyintiri in his favoured policeman's cap • Tali – sand dune, ceramic by Pepai Jangala Carroll • Kapi Tjukula at Ilpili, ceramic by Pepai Jangala Carroll • Kapi Tjukula, ceramic by Dickie Minyintiri • Walungurru by Pepai Jangala Carroll. All photos courtesy Ernabella Arts and Raft Artspace, unless otherwise indicated.