Country: Victoria River Downs, Northern Territory
Clan (Skin): Jangala
Alan Griffiths is a respected elder, song-man and teacher in the east Kimberley region of Australia. His unique paintings of life as a stockman and of traditional dances, all in natural ochres and pigments, are characterised by a series of small figures ‘dotting’ the canvas and are presented as almost playful, joyous celebrations of his life and cultural commitments. He has been well aware in recent years of documenting his extraordinary experiences, capturing the past so it is not lost to the future of his children, his childrens’ children and the broader community.
Born: c. 1940
Bugai Whyoulter was born at Pukayiyirna, on present day Balfour Downs Station, and her parents soon took her north through Jigalong and Nullagine to Kunawarritji. She grew up, walked and hunted primarily around Punmu, Kunawarritji and Kunkun, and as a young woman travelled the Canning Stock Route. In recent years, she has lived at Kunawarritji and was taught to paint by Nora Nungabar and Nora Wompi. The three women paint together as often as possible. Bugai concentrates on depictions of her country and the vast tracts of desert through which she has travelled.
Region: Milikapiti, Melville Island
Conrad Tipungwuti was born in his home country of Ranku on Melville Island. Tipungwuti’s painting reflects the influence of Tiwi cultural tradition. His painting focuses Tapara, the moon man and the late wet season Kulama initiation ceremony, celebrated when the sacred yams become ripe on the island. In 2013, he was a finalist in the Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.
Part of a new generation of contemporary artists working at Maningrida, Don Djorlom has explored the traditional painted designs of this region and produced extremely elegant and innovative carved wooden sculptures. His authentic designs are a subtle variation on traditional practices and his hand-crafted, slender wood Mimihs and Yawk yawks are exquisitely produced. Djorlom’s delicate application of earth ochres applied with remarkable precision is breathtaking and weightless. Djorlom works alongside his wife, Sonia Namarnyilk, who shares a common approach and aesthetic.
Born in Shandong Province in 1974, Gao Ping lives and works in Beijing as a full-time artist and has exhibited extensively in China and internationally. She takes refuge from the intense and dense city environment of Chinese life today through personal reflections of domestic and modern life. The images are charming, exquisite, often poignant and thoroughly engaging. All artworks are Chinese ink on rice paper mounted on silk.
Lives and works in Beijing, China
Huang Xu’s photographs tackle “…the changing face of Chinese culture”. The Flower series is derived from the idea of the ‘Four Gentlemen’- plum blossom, orchid, chrysanthemum and bamboo. These plants were the Confucian symbols for the four qualities of a learned-man, one of the most popular themes in traditional Chinese painting.
Jean Baptiste Apuatimi
Region: Melville Island
Skin Group: Tapatapunga (March Fly)
Jean Baptiste Apuatimi is a senior Tiwi Island artist who recreates and interprets body painting designs used in Tiwi Ceremony. “I love my painting, I love doing it. My husband, Declan Apuatimi taught me to paint. The designs are ones he taught me. He said ‘One day you will be an artist, you will take my place.’ Now I am doing that. Painting makes me alive.”
Jimmy Nerrimah Mawukura
Born: c. 1924-2013
Country: Wili, Great Sandy Desert
Jimmy Nerrimah is a Walmajarri man. His country is around Wayampajarti, a jila (a permanent waterhole) in the north-western area of the Great Sandy Desert. Ten years after first starting to paint, his works are highly sought after by collectors and are represented in the National Gallery of Australia.
Language: Gija (Kimberley Kriol)
Lena Nyadbi was born at Warnmarnjulugun Lagoon (near Greenvale Station) and grew up on Old Lissadell Station. Nyadbi began painting in 1998 when the Warmun Art Centre commenced operation. Nyadbi paints both the Dayiwul (the barramundi) dreaming and Jimbirla (spearhead) country. In 2006, Nyadbi was one of eight artists featured at the Musee du Quai Branly project in Paris and the relationship continued in 2013 when Nyadbi’s Dayiwul Lirlmim was recreated in large-scale on the rooftop.
Born: c. 1976
Country: Mindi Rardi
Lisa Uhl lives in Fitzroy Crossing in the West Kimberley area of Western Australia. She conveys her love for home through her abstract paintings of her country and her community. She displays her unique cultural connection to place through art. Lisa’s layering of colours creates an atmospheric rhythm, which speaks of the humidity and expanse of the Kimberley.
Language: Gija (Kimberley Kriol)
Mabel Juli was born at Five Mile, near Moola Boola Station (south of Warmun), and was taken as a baby to Springvale Station, her mother’s country. She is a strong law and culture woman and an important ceremonial singer and dancer. Juli started painting in the 1980s at the same time as Queenie McKenzie and Madigan Thomas. The women used to watch Rover Thomas paint and one day he said to them, “you try yourself, you might make good painting yourself.” Juli is a dedicated, innovative artist who continues to work in natural earth pigments on canvas. She primarily paints the Ngarranggarni (Dreaming) stories of her country Darrajayin which is covered largely by Springvale Station.
Born: c. 1952
Clan: Dhalwanu, Nunburundi
Malaluba Gumana mainly paints her mother’s Galpu clan designs of dhatam (waterlily), djari (rainbow), djaykun (filesnake) and wititj (olive python). Her work also represents Garrimala, a billabong near where she lives at Gangan, a sacred site for the Galpu clan.
Maria Josette Orsto
Region: Bathurst Island
Clan (skin group): Japajapunga (march fly)
Maria Josette Orsto was taught to paint by her father, Declan Apuatimi when she was a young girl. In his later years, she participated in and completed much of his work. Josette is a prolific carver, painter and batik artist. She lives in Nguiu, Bathurst Island and was one of the first female artists to become an official member of Tiwi Design.
Mary Magdalene Tipungwuti
Region: Bathurst Island
Mary Magdalene Tipungwuti was born on Bathurst Island and grew up at the mission at Nguiu. She has carved and painted Pukamani poles for ceremonies. Mary began painting at Jilamara in 2002. Her paintings are loose, free abstract works which relate to body painting and Pukamani ceremony designs.
Born: c. 1940
Country: Bubble Bubble
Minnie Lumai grew up at Newry Station. She brought up her children in Kununurra and it was here she began painting. “I been watching all those people painting at the art centre, every morning I watched them and I asked my sister if I could come and paint. Now I come here and paint and I dance here too.” Lumai paints her country and the Yab-yab-gnerni-gnim dreaming. This dreaming is key to the Miriwoong people for ownership of country around Kununurra.
Born: c. 1940
Nancy Patterson was born at Kalpaa (Well 24 on the Canning Stock Route). She is the younger sister of Bugai Whyoulter and the two girls grew up with many other relatives in the country around Karlamilyi (Rudall River) and also also around Kunawarritji (Well 33). Her works reflect the dramatic geography and scale of their homelands in the Great Sandy Desert and Rudall River regions of Western Australia.
Born: c. 1935
Nora Wompi was born in the Great Sandy Desert in a place called Lilparu, which is close to Well 33 on the Canning Stock Route. Here she lived a traditional nomadic life until her early twenties. After living at the Balgo mission, she moved back to Well 33 where she resides today. She visits Balgo regularly to see family and to paint. Her work oscillates between intricate tracings of familiar country and painterly strokes of bold colour depicting stories of spirit men, spirit dogs and love magic.
Born: c. 1920
Country: Bullo River, Legune Station, Northern Territory
Paddy Carlton was born in Goordamankoo country on League Station in the Northern Territory. He is a senior elder and law man in his community and across the east Kimberley region. His paintings reflect the richness of his culture and his love of traditional country. They clearly demonstrate his vast knowledge, connection to country and status as a senior law man.
Patrick Mung Mung
Born: c. 1948
Patrick Mung Mung is a senior artist at Warmun Art Centre and an elder within the Warmun community in the East Kimberley. Mung Mung started painting in 1991 and was instrumental in establishing the Warmun Art Centre in 1998. His knowledge of country and his cultural memory of family, land and work are powerfully linked within his painting. Mung Mung’s paintings are influenced directly by the previous generation of Warmun artists in their raw directness and composition.
Born: c. 1950
Country: Newry Station, Northern Territory
Peggy Griffiths was born on Newry Station. She began painting in Kununurra in 1985. She often paints alongside her husband Alan Griffiths. Her works document the traditional country of her father and grandfather and her most recent works capture the movement of wind through this spinifex country.
Region: Melville Island, Northern Territory
Raelene Kerinauia was born on Bathurst Island and raised by her grandmother. She began designing screens for fabric printing in 1985 as part of the adult education programme in Milikapiti and then started to paint at Jilamara Arts and Crafts in 1989. Since 1999, she has used the traditional painting technique of a comb (kayimwagakini). Combs were used for ceremonial body painting application and are typically made from bloodwood or ironwood. She primarily paints Jilamara (design) drawn from the body painting which accompanies the Pukamani (funeral) and Kulama (initiation/yam) ceremonies.
Rusty Peters is a senior Gija man of Juwurru skin. He was born under a Warlagarri or Supplejack tree on Springvale Station southwest of Turkey Creek. His spirit came from a crocodile his father had killed when his mother became pregnant. He grew up in Springvale learning traditional law and working as a stockman. His painting reflects his detailed knowledge of the land and stories from Springvale and neighbouring Moolabulla stations.
Sonia Kurarra grew up in the river country at Yungngora (Noonkanbah). Sonia began painting at Mangkaja in the early 1990s working mostly on paper. Since 2008, Sonia has been working predominantly on canvas and paints the sandy billabong country along the stretch of the Fitzroy River that runs directly behind the community. After the flood waters recede, there are billabongs that hold a plentiful supply of parlka (barramundi), kurlumajarti (catfish) and bream. She paints gapi (fish), parrmarr (rocks) where the fish are cooked, ngurti (coolamon) and a karli (boomerang).
Part of a new generation of contemporary artists working at Maningrida, Sonia Namarnyilk has explored the traditional painted designs of this region and produced extremely elegant and innovative carved wooden sculptures. Her authentic designs are a subtle variation on traditional practices and her hand-crafted, slender wood Mimihs and Yawk yawks are exquisitely produced. Her delicate application of earth ochres applied with remarkable precision is breathtaking and weightless. Namarnyilk works alongside her husband, Don Djorlom, who shares a common approach and aesthetic.
Country: Goose Creek, Melville Island
Timothy Cook began exhibiting his work in the late 1990s. His art primarily depicts the Kulama Ceremony (yam ceremony). The Kulama Ceremony is performed in the late wet season (March-April) when a ring appears around the moon. Kulama is a traditional initiation for young men which coincides with the harvest of a certain wild yam species. Elders of both sexes sing and dance for three days welcoming the boys into adulthood. The boy is then renamed with his true man’s name.
Cook holds a deep connection to culture and country, his paintings depict traditions felt through true uninhibited expression. In 2012, he was the winner of the 29th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award. His paintings are represented in numerous major public collections including the Musée du quai Branly, Paris and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
Ng Kwun Lun Tony was born in Hong Kong. In 1986, Ng received a Diploma in Chinese Ink Painting at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 2011, he further completed a Master of Fine Art at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
His art practice concerns personal experience, cultural heritage and social or environmental changes.
In 2012 Tony Ng described his artwork:
“My various series’ of works aim to express my interest and contemplation regarding the process of the evolution of ‘precipitation’, along with my thoughts on ‘true vs untrue’ and ‘illusion v reality’. While the forms and appearances of my work changes, the essence of my aim remains the same.”
Vanessa Russ is a contemporary artist who currently lives and works in Perth. Her family is from the Kimberley region in Western Australia. Russ’ artwork explores an on-going relationship with mark making, primarily through the use of charcoal on paper. They focus on the notion of ‘memory’, particularly those of her home and country. “Like a rivers watermark, memory reminds us of who we are and where we are going. It helps to reconnect us to the things that give life meaning…” For Russ, this meaning comes from her father’s country around the Gibb Rover Cattle Station. Her art practice is constantly referencing the rivers and roads throughout this area.
Wakartu Cory Surprise
Country: Pirrmal, Great Sandy Desert
Wakartu Cory Surprise was born at Tapu in the Great Sandy Desert. She began painting at Karrayili Adult Education Centre in the early 1980′s. “When I paint, I think about my country, and where I have been traveling across that country. I paint from here (points to head- thinking about country) and here (points to breasts, collarbone and shoulder blades- which is reference to body painting.” In 2010, she won the Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.
Clan: Marrakulu, Dhurili
Wukun Wanambi was one of 16 national finalists in the 2013 West Australian Indigenous Art Awards hosted by the Art Gallery of Western Australia. His very first bark painting won the Bark Painting Section of 1998 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award. Since 2007 he has been the cultural manager of The Mulka Project, the digital arm of the art centre. He produces transcendent artworks and is a highly articulate artist.