The first major survey exhibition from the artists of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunyjatjara (APY) Lands of central Australia.
Bringing together more than 100 artists from across the Lands, the exhibition was an important opportunity for the region to speak as a whole and to share unique cultural and artistic traditions. The richly coloured, dynamic and powerful works articulated the central themes of Tjukurpa (Law), Ngura (Country), and Inma (ceremony), telling of Anangu creation stories, the landscape and its important sites.
For more information on the artists and works in the exhibition see the special Our Stars exhibition-specific website we've created.
The exhibition won a MGNSW IMAGinE Award (Exhibition Project – Galleries 3-10 paid staff).
Featuring more than 70 works from public and private collections across the country, Nganampa Kililpil: Our Stars became the catalyst for four major collaborative works that, for the first time, saw artists from across the APY Lands working together on large scale single works.
Nganana unngu kututungka tjukurpa tjuta kanyini munula palulanguru kunpu ngarany.
Nyangatja nganampa titji malatjaku ngaranyi tjana kulu kunpugku kanyintjaku nganana purunytju.
In this canvas is our story.
We have these stories in our heart and inside us.
This makes us strong.
This is for the next generation, so they can strongly hold the stories like we do.
Artist Nyurpaya Kaika Burton, from Tjala Arts speaking about the significance of the women’s collaborative canvas painted in Kaltjiti in 2016.
At the heart of the works is the coming together of the artists as a family and sharing of knowledge and culture from one generation to the next as senior artists worked alongside younger and emerging artists, teaching them the stories and associated imagery.
The APY Lands is a vast area located in remote South Australia, near the tri-state border with the Northern Territory and Western Australia, covering over 103,000 square kilometers, or just over 10% of the state.
There are seven art centres located throughout the APY Lands. Starting from the east, they include Iwantja Arts at Indulkana, Mimili Maku Arts at Mimili, Kaltjiti Arts at Fregon, Ernabella Arts at Pukatja, Tjala Arts at Amata, Tjungu Palya at Nyapari, and Ninuku Arts at Kalka.
The art centres are 100% Anangu owned and operated. They provide a community hub, a place for sharing and passing down of culture and knowledge from one generation to the next, support of cultural practices, the ethical production and sale of the artists’ works, and a platform for artists to be positioned within the Australian and international art movements.
Many of the artists from the APY Lands are senior members of their communities – important law men and women who are custodians to the many stories and songlines that traverse the desert regions and their ancestral homelands.
As an Anangu person gains age, knowledge and responsibility, they gain authority to paint increasingly complex and meaningful interpretations of subjects including their country and surrounding sites (including their mother’s and father’s country), ancestral stories, various themes associated with native wildlife, and more. Art is an important focus for younger generations to learn these traditions and laws, and for the sharing and transfer of knowledge.
Artists from the APY Lands express these shared and multifaceted themes in highly individual styles, incorporating techniques that go far beyond the well-known dotting or stippling methods. Their works are dynamic and vibrant, non-figurative and figurative, mostly celebratory, and are often made in the spirit of sharing and learning.
Celebrated for strong use of colour and dynamic movement APY Lands artists’ works capture the many undulations of Anangu creation stories, the landscape and it’s significant sites. Nganampa Kililipil: Our Stars brings the artists of the APY Lands together, enabling them to share their culturally and visually powerful works.
Image: Nyukana Norris with Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunyjatjara Lands women’s collaborative Kungkarangkalpa - Seven Sisters, 2016, acrylic on linen, 300 x 480 cm. Image courtesy of Kaltjiti Arts, Fregon community.