A celebratory exhibition this month fell victim to the pandemic response. It would have shown where this valiant group of Town Camp artists have come from. KIERAN FINNANE reports on their persistence through the shutdown and aspirations for the future.
The many ideas, memories, emotions brought into the room in Jennifer Taylor's exhibition, Dream of Home, create a common ground around something that is fundamental for each one of us here in Central Australia, a sense of being at home here with one another, Aboriginal and other Australians – on our best days, our collective dream. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.
"Walking and travelling is a human habit and so is the making of shelters and dreaming of a safe place to call home. A place from which creation might emanate." CRAIG SAN ROQUE reflects on Dream of Home, an exhibition by by Jennifer Taylor.
As commuters move through the underground corridors of Sydney CBD’s busy Wynyard Station this month, a burst of life and colour from Central Australia greets them: on a huge wide-format screen (23m x 3m), a video-installation by Yarrenyty Arltere Artists and Leonardo Ortega. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
On my first weekend in Alice I visited the art galleries in Todd Mall to start my exploration. I’d already put aside money to purchase my first Aboriginal artwork, but no impulse buys from me – I wanted to get to know Alice and her surrounds before I purchased her art. The opportunity came when I got on the Art Bus leaving at regular intervals from the Beanie Festival last Saturday. The initiative is a great one, Alice Springs’ not-for-profit, Aboriginal-owned art centres working together to further promote their work. RACHEL McFADDEN reports.
They are a group of people about whom much is said and written by others, but here is chance to see residents of the Alice Springs town camps express themselves in their own images and words. They tell us about daily life, spirit life, memory, reflection, aspiration. There is humour, affection, yearning, delight, pride. Two Alice Springs art centres, Tangentyere Artists and Yarrenyty Arltere Artists, have combined to present this exhibition, Our Way, Their Way, at RAFT Artspace. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.
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.
Outside, the scent of woodsmoke and roasted 'roo meat; inside, editioned etchings and the colourfully stitched soft sculptures that have become the signature work for Yarrenyty-Arltere Artists from Larapinta Valley Town Camp in Alice Springs. Everywhere, excited children and then after dark, as they settle down, the screening of films that give you a glimpse of everyday life at the camp as you warm up with a steamy cup of tea and hot damper and jam.
It's that time of year again (next Wednesday, June 13, from 4.30pm) when the town camp hosts the annual Art, Film and Music Night at its Learning Centre. There's always an atmosphere of celebration. That's partly in recognition of the centre's achievements over the year, but it's also a response to the opportunity for the town and camp to come together, people getting to know one another – being shown how to cook 'roo tail in the hot ashes, talking about the art, laughing at the same jokes in the films, which perhaps contrary to expectations, are often very humorous.
This isn't the occasion for the art centre to launch new editioned prints – you'll have to wait until Desert Mob for that – but work from older editions will be for sale. Meanwhile, each soft sculpture is unique and it will be an occasion to buy or admire more of their delightful birds and dolls. – KIERAN FINNANE
Pictured, above left: Small circle doll by Contsance Robinja. • Above right: Bird by Dulcie Sharpe. Photos courtesy Yarrenyty-Arltere Artists.