Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands South Australia
Aboriginal owned Ninuku Arts is one of seven art centres across the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the far Northwest of South Australia. This region is home to some of the best-known and most collectable artists in the country. Housed within the only mud-brick premises in the APY Lands, Ninuku supports artists of both the Indigenous communities of Kalka and Pipalyatjara, amongst the peaceful backdrop of the Tomkinson ranges.
This remote and isolated environment is home to around 150 Anangu (people), whose great pride in their ancestral home continues to foster a strong sense of community. In the spring, the ancient red soil comes to life on the ranges with wild flowers and native grass in which you can expect to find wild brumbies and the warru (black-footed rock wallaby). The undulating hills are also home to the 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.
Yaritji Connelly, Senior Artist and Co-Founding Director, Ninuku Arts.
From simple beginnings in 2006, Ninuku has now established itself within the artworld as a centre for excellence, enjoying a level of reputation usually associated with long established institutions. At the heart of this success lies the diversity, vibrancy and confidence of the art produced within its mud-brick walls.
Whether it is the astonishingly iridescent artworks of renowned artist Jimmy Donegan or the delicate textures of Yangi Yangi Fox, the mesmerising colours of Samuel Miller and Monica Puntjina Watson or the striking avian figures of Nyanu Watson, the artists of Ninuku embrace stylistic difference. Each of them provides a personal expression of how contemporary artists of the APY Lands relate to country and culture.
Broome, Western Australia
Situated on the traditional lands of the Karrajarri, the artists at Yulpartja Artists of Bidyadanga depict in technicolour how contemporary life unfolds on the Kimberley coast, 250 kilometres south of Broome, Western Australia.
Previously known as La Grange Station, the Bidyadanga Aboriginal Community was once a telegraph post for surrounding stations and luggers. In the 1970s, a severe drought coupled with the impact of the equal pay decisions saw Indigenous peoples emigrate across the interior. Many of the Yulparija residents, whose country is in the Great Sandy Desert, arrived at Bidyadanga around this time. By then, the community was run as a mission for various language-groups under the auspices of the Catholic Church.
Bidyadanga is now the largest remote community in Western Australia. It is home to approximately 750 people from the Karajarri, Juwalinny, Mangala, Nyungamarta and Yulpartja language groups. This unique mix of history, art and culture makes for a vibrant community life and developing economy.
Yulpartja Artists of Bidyadanga is an important cultural institution for the community. Its artists, including the highly successful Daniel Walbidi, aim to be both commercially and culturally successful. Many of the Bidyadanga artists are Yulparija elders whose work depicts the vast country that surrounds well 33 on the Canning Stock Route, focusing on Dreaming sites that contain narratives about life, culture and survival in these desert environs. The artists’ depictions of the desert landscape are inflected with vibrant colours inspired by the Kimberley coast, forming an exciting and contemporary cross-cultural form of landscape painting that celebrates living cultures stretching from the Kimberley to the Great Sandy Desert.
In Bidyadanga, art continues to form an important expression of the community’s will to enjoy the retelling of stories and the celebration of different traditions, which help to maintain the strong language and cultural ties that bind community life.