Two major works from the Spinifex Arts Project are generously on loan from the Art Gallery of South Australia and currently on display in the main foyer.

Kuru Ala

2015, Ilkurlka, Great Victoria Desert, Western Australia | synthetic polymer paint on linen

Gift of Barbara Fargher, Roger J. Lang, Lipman Karas, Mark Livesey QC, Joan Lyons, Diana McLaurin, Robert Pontifex and Henry Rischbieth through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation Collectors Club 2015.

ARTISTS

Veronica BROWN | born 1981, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Lorraine DAVIES | born 1951, Pukurnkurn, Western Australia | Ngaanyatjarra people, Western Australia

Kathleen (Kanta) DONNEGAN | born 1944, Kapi Piti Kutjara, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Estelle HOGAN | born 1937, Paltjatjara, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Betty KENNEDY | born 1954, Great Victoria Desert, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Lois PENNINGTON | born 1957, Great Victoria Desert, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Myrtle PENNINGTON | born 1939, Kanpa, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Ngalpingka SIMMS | born 1945, Wayiyul, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Kunmanara THOMAS | born 1939, Ngalkuritjara, Western Australia | died 2015, Tjuntjuntjara, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Tjaruwa WOODS | born 1954, Warutjara, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Ilkurlka

2015, Ilkurlka, Great Victoria Desert, Western Australia | synthetic polymer paint on linen

Gift of Barbara Fargher, Roger J. Lang, Lipman Karas, Mark Livesey QC, Joan Lyons, Diana McLaurin, Robert Pontifex and Henry Rischbieth through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation Collectors Club 2015.

ARTISTS

Byron BROOKS | born 1951, Great Victoria Desert, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Fred GRANT | born 1943, Ukatjatjara, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Simon HOGAN | born c.1930, Paltju, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Lawrence PENNINGTON | born c.1934, Urlu, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Patju PRESLEY | born 1945, Itaratjara, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Ian RICTOR | born c.1955, Artulin / Tuwan, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Roy UNDERWOOD | born 1937, Tjutajara area, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

Lennard WALKER | born 1946, Tjukaltjara, Western Australia | Pitjantjatjara people, Western Australia

The Spinifex Art Project is a collective of Pitjantjatjara men and women artists, most of whom were relocated from Maralinga in the far west of South Australia between 1953 and 1963, when the Australian and British governments were performing atomic bomb and rocket testing on their traditional lands.

They returned to their homelands in the Great Victoria Desert in the early 1980s and the collective was established in 1997. At this time the Spinifex people began using the contemporary medium of acrylic paint on linen to document their Tjukurpa, or traditional ancestral creation stories. They lobbied the West Australian Government to recognise their ongoing connections to their land, and in 2000 they were awarded Native Title to an area of 55,000 square kilometres in the first successful Native Title claim in Western Australia.

These two large-scale collaborative paintings Kuru Ala and Ilkurlka were created at an important soakage site, Ilkurlka, deep in the Great Victoria Desert. The artists travelled there in March 2015 to create these paintings and a larger body of work especially for TARNANTHI|Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art. They camped for five days, singing, dancing and sharing the many important Tjukurpa stories associated with this ancestral site, thereby rekindling their ties and shared responsibility for country through the manifestation of painting.

Ten women aged between thirty-four and seventy-eight painted the women’s collaborative painting Kura Ala. Each painted her family connections and birthplaces associated with this site, as well as the shared story of the Kungkarangkalpa, the Seven Sisters Tjukurpa. This story covers vast tracts of land and links Aboriginal women across the desert regions of Australia.

Eight men aged between sixty and eighty-five collaborated on Ilkurlka and embedded in the painting their individual interpretations of the Kalaya Tjukurpa (Emu ancestral creation story). The importance of the continuation of culture is expressed through the intergenerational group of artists involved in the creation of these major works.

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