Located in the far north-west of South Australia near the tri-state border, Aboriginal owned Ninuku Arts is the most remote of the seven art centres within the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. Despite, or perhaps because of its remoteness, this region is home to some of the best-known and most collectable artists on the contemporary Australian art scene.
Set against the peaceful backdrop of the Tomkinson Ranges, Ninuku Arts supports artists from the surrounding communities of Kalka and Pipalyatjara. Ninuku Arts has become part of the local landscape, comprising the only mud-brick building on the APY lands and a silver-bullet caravan that attracts the winter sun.
This isolated tract of desert Country is home to around 150 Aṉangu (people), whose great pride in their ancestral home continues to foster a strong sense of community. In the springtime, the ancient red soil of the ranges comes to life in a vibrant sea of wild flowers and native grasses, where wild brumbies and warru (black-footed rock wallaby) graze. The undulating hills are also home to some of the last remaining ninuku (bilby), from which the art centre takes its name.
“Our spirits have a deep attachment to the bilby. The Bilby Woman is our true creation ancestor, and this means we have a need for her in our spirit and soul.”
From its humble beginnings in 2006, Ninuku Arts has established itself as a centre for excellence within the artworld, enjoying a reputation usually associated with more venerable institutions. At the heart of this success lies the diversity, vibrancy and confidence of the art produced within its mud-brick walls.
Central to Ninuku Arts is an ethos of inclusivity, embracing individuality and providing a nurturing space for all artists to paint, regardless of age, gender or experience. The resulting artwork encompasses a diverse array of styles, ranging from the astonishingly iridescent work of renowned artist Jimmy Donegan, to the delicate textures of Yangi Yangi Fox or the striking avian figures of Nyanu Watson. Ninuku Arts fosters this diversity, allowing each artist to create a deeply personal expression of their unique relationship to Country.