2 NEW EXHIBITIONS - 1. THE PILBARA – PAINTINGS FROM THE YINJAA-BARNI ART CENTRE + 2. EDWARD BLITNER – STORIES FROM MY GRANDFATHER
When artists from Roebourne in Western Australia’s Pilbara region paint the broken rocky landscape of that harsh landscape, they mix it with extraordinary images of rockpools and seeds and flowers. The artists know the toughness of the country as well as the underlying regeneration that comes from the Marrga, or Creation narratives that underpin Aboriginal culture. The artists are from Yinjabarndi people of the Fortesque River region, and their emergence into the Aboriginal art world has been a recent journey made over only the past ten years. For decades the indigenous people of the Pilbara had resisted joining the growing desert art movement, their leaders suspicious of the results of allowing the outside world any glimpse into the deeply held cultural traditions that underpin Aboriginal art and storytelling. So when the Yinjaa-Barni Artists exhibit their work at Japingka Gallery, we see the artists world view and their bonds to the earth – abstracted views of the eroded rock faces alongside glowing green and blue visions of the Creation of the earth, from a time when “the world was soft’ . Clifton Mack and Aileen Sandy are the artists who bring us the jarring surfaces of the iron rich rockfaces. Marlene Harold and Allery Sandy give us the countering images of water and regeneration. The artists share their storytelling traditions and their basic ties to the land, their futures also tied to their relationships with the expanding Pilbara mining industry. The artists show a vision of the Pilbara alive to the purpose of its aboriginal inhabitants – full of meaning, culture and history. The exhibition The Pilbara from Yinjaa-Barni Eyes is showing at Japingka Gallery from 15 June to 18 July.
Arnhem Land painter Edward Blitner is showing paintings in Gallery2 that use the fine “rarrk” or cross-hatching, to highlight images of Mimi spirits, Barramundi and Lightning Spirits. These images were taught to Blitner by his grandfather, from rock paintings and ceremonial stories from the Marra and Alawa people, as they fished and hunted along the coast of Arnhem Land. The exhibition also includes significant works on paper by senior Arnhem Land artists including George Milpurrurru, England Bangala, Billy Dullman and Djardie Ashley.