Our collaborators are sprawled far and wide across this sunburnt country: from Canberra’s celebrated contemporary abstract artists Ham Darroch and Derek O’Connor whose experiments in materiality explore various accepted and shared histories; to Bidyadanga’s homegrown heroes, Mary Meribida and Margaret Baragurra, whose works transmit the intense vibrancy of culture and Country on the Kimberly coast.
Located between these distant places in the remote South Australian community of Kalka, a diverse group of artists work out of Ninuku Arts on the APY Lands. From this far-flung map point, Jimmy Donegan conjures richly layered desertscapes that sit in friendly dialogue with the undulating rainbows of Samuel Miller’s waterholes. Complimenting these works are the figurative offerings of Nyanu Watson’s evocative avian portraits, and Monica Puntjina Watson’s lovingly rendered depictions of the scared sites of her Country.
Back on the east coast (and a little bit south) we have Melbourne’s Katie Eraser, whose sharp irony collides with feminist theory and abstracted forms to great effect, creating bold, humorous and thought-provoking works.
Last but definitely not least, comes our latest collaboration with the inimitable Martumili Artists of the Eastern Pilbara region in Western Australia. Bringing together the work of senior Martu artists Bugai Whyoulter, Minyawe Miller, Jakayu Biljabu, Nancy Nyanjilpayi Chapman, Helen Dale Samson and Muuki and Wokka Taylor and rising star Judith Anya Samson, the collection features a vibrant array of striking works from masters of the contemporary Aboriginal art scene.
One of Twelve has fostered proud partnerships with respected community-owned art centres across Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, to ensure that artists are paid fairly for their work, and that our customers receive the highest quality products in return.
Celebrating artists is at the heart of what we do. At One of Twelve, we believe that art has the ability to enrich our daily lives while supporting the unique and dynamic cultures of artists and communities throughout our region. It is a privilege to work with such a talented group of people, and an honour to share their work with you.
Bugai Whyoulter, a Martu woman, was born at Pukayiyirna, north west of Parnpajinya (Newman) in Western Australia. Whyoulter began painting professionally in her late sixties in 2007. Today, she is considered one of Martumili’s most established artists.
Known for bold compositions characterised by rhythmic lines and frenetic dotting, Whyoulter’s work is rendered in a brilliant spectrum ranging from soft pastels through to vibrant hues.
Derek O’Connor was born in England in 1959 and migrated to Adelaide in 1969. He later moved to Canberra to study painting at the Australian National University, and has since developed a successful career, exhibiting regularly in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra since 1991.
Derek is primarily an abstract painter whose work is informed by material, method and intuition. His paintings are layered, scraped-back and reworked until they reach completion, the subject often revealing itself. His work is imbued with fluidity and energy, and an emotive quality that comes from the physicality of his painting technique.
He is an avid reader particularly of art history and World War II literature and it is integral to his practice. His latest series Dog Days uses the covers of Time Life books as a background to his paintings. A selection of these along with a back catalogue of much of his work can be viewed on his website.
Jakayu Biljabu, a Martu woman, was born circa 1936 near the site of Pitu, east of Well 25 on the Canning Stock Route. She grew up moving between significant sites on Martu Country with her family, occasionally encountering ‘whitefellas’ working along the Canning Stock Route.
During pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) times, Biljabu and her family travelled extensively between water sources, hunting and collecting bush foods along the way. Biljabu’s family retained their traditional lifestyle longer than most pujiman, and Biljabu was married with three children by the time they settled at the Jigalong mission. Biljabu later moved to Punmu where she lives and works today.
Septuagenarian Jimmy Donegan first saw the ocean in 2010 when travelling to Darwin for the 27th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Art Awards.
He returned to the small community of Kalka in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands having won the coveted Telstra art award as well as the general painting category award, the first artist to win both at the same time. Born and raised in remote Western Australia, Donegan laboured as a stockman, craftsman, and senior lawman, and in the 1970s helped organise the outstations movement.
Since beginning to paint in 2000, the artist has become renown nationally and abroad for his rich and vivid compositions of his cultural inheritance. He now paints for Ninuku Arts in the APY Lands of South Australia.
In recent years, Eraser’s practice has blossomed with successful exhibitions and art world buzz for her delectable abstract art. Inspired by queer and intersectional feminist ideas, her art is a celebration of humanity in all its imperfect splendour.
Hahaha. Seriously! explores how colours interact in beguiling and emotive ways. Despite the forms being clearly defined, they are not geometric and do not appear calculated to produce harmony or balance. Rather, everything is intuitive and dynamic.
Unlike the many abstract artists who call their works “Untitled,” Eraser’s casual labels embed her art in our everyday experiences, how we see and respond to the world around us, our approaches to life. And so it is with this wonderfully warm work.
Mary Meribida, the daughter of Rover Thomas’s sister Kupi, was born in Ilyara (Punmu) in Western Australia. The artist’s childhood was spent in the surrounding country, living a nomadic life with her family: “We been walk ‘em, no clothes, nothing. We proper bush people, no English,” she says of her upbringing.
Things changed in the 1970s when severe drought brought her people, the Yulparija people, out of the desert in search of water. They settled in the coastal town of Bidyadanga (formerly La Grange Mission) on the Kimberley coast, where the artist now lives with her husband and fellow artist Donald Moko.
Margaret Baragurra was born in Kalpirti in the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia. Her upbringing was spent travelling across the desert region, from waterholes to seasonal wetlands. In the 1970s a sustained drought forced her people, the Yulparija, to leave their traditional country and settle in the coastal town of Bidyadanga on the Kimberley coast (formerly La Grange Mission), some 250 kilometres south of Broome. The artist began painting in 2003 and is known for combining traditional designs from the Great Sandy Desert with the vibrant colours of the Kimberley.
Born in the pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) days, Martu man Minyawe Miller grew up travelling across the Country around Punmu with his family. As a young man, Miller walked across great stretches of this Country carrying only his tajitaji (smouldering stick) and jurna (hunting stick). Travelling between water sources, Miller and his family hunted and collected bush foods such as warmula (bush tomatoes), emu and marlu (kangaroo) as they went.
Nyanu Watson grew up at Pukatja (Ernabella) in north-west South Australia, and witnessed the changes brought about when the missionaries arrived in 1937. In the early 1970s, Watson left the mission for Kalka during the Homelands movement, when the peoples from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia’s north-west border region returned to their country.
The artist is now a prominent member of the Kalka Community, and is well known for her unique depictions of local wildlife – especially the Ngintaka (Lizard), Anumara (Caterpillar), and Kakalyalya (Cockatoo) – along with her involvement in the collaborative efforts of the renowned Tjanpi Desert Weavers.
A Pipalytjara elder, Monica Putjina Watson was born in or around 1940 at the rockhole Pukara in Western Australia, an important site for the water snake Tjukurpa (dreaming story). She left her birthplace with her family as a young girl and worked for a time in the crafts room at Ernabella Arts in Pukatja, South Australia. It was not until the homelands movement of the late 1970s, that the artist finally returned home with her husband and children.
Monica now paints with Ninuku Arts and is known for her use of bright colours, especially yellow, and dynamic compositions. Her art is included in several national collections.
Muuki Taylor is a senior Martu man, born circa 1945 at Wayinkurungu, a soak on the fringe of the Percival Lakes amid the Great Sandy Desert. Taylor grew up during pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) times, part of a large family – his father having three wives. Together, they walked across the vast expanse of the Great Sandy Desert, frequenting sites around Parnngurr, Punmu and the Kiriwirri area of the Percival Lakes.
Born circa 1941, Nancy Nyanjilpayi Chapman and her sisters, Martu women and fellow senior artists Mulyatingki Marney, May Chapman and Marjorie Yates (dec.), walked across their Country between the communities of Punmu and Kunawarritji. As young girls, the sisters were left to survive alone in the desert after both their parents died. The sisters continued their pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) existence for many years, hunting and living off the land.
Wokka Taylor, a Martu man, was born circa 1939 in the far north of the Martu homelands near Kulyakartu. During pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling times) times, Taylor and his family travelled to Kulyakartu in the wet season. During the dry season they travelled south to the Percival Lakes region, camping at its numerous waterholes along the way.
Samuel Miller was born at Ernabella mission in north-west South Australia. When his mother passed away, his father’s second wife and accomplished artist Molly Nampitjin Miller looked after him. He grew up in Amata and Pipalyatjara and now lives at Kalka in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands with Molly and the rest of the family.
Helen Dale Samson is a Martu woman, born circa 1943 at Jigalong mission. The mission was originally established as a support store for workers constructing the Rabbit-Proof Fence. This iconic landmark gained international renown following Phillip Noyce’s film adaptation of Doris Pilkington Garimara’s book, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence.
Canberra-based contemporary artist Ham Darroch works in sculpture, performance and drawing. His artistic practice draws on recognisable objects of both everyday life and of art history to create abstract works that, through careful referencing of shared histories and experiences, appear effortlessly comforting and familiar.