Betsy Lewis - Mina Mina Jukurr
20th Anniversary Exhibition and Celebration
In conjunction with the Warlukurlangu Art Centre, a major exhibition of new paintings by artists from Yuendumu is being hosted at Japingka Gallery in Fremantle. The exhibition is a celebration of the 20 year
Shorty Robertson - Ngapa Jukur
In conjunction with the Warlukurlangu Art Centre, a major exhibition of new paintings by artists from Yuendumu is being hosted at Japingka Gallery in Fremantle. The exhibition is a celebration of the 20 year anniversary of the foundation of Yuendumu’s art centre, and is a tribute to the role of Warlpiri artists in the modern desert art movement.
The Yuendumu Community became internationally famous in 1983, when the Senior Men and Elders (concerned at the impact of Western Culture on the Community’s youth) decided to paint the Community’s School doors with traditional motifs and designs so as to inculcate the children with their own culture and to remind them of their own rich heritage. These school doors became famous and valuable/historical artworks in their own right.
Yuendumu Community is 300 Kms north-west of Alice Springs and is the major centre for Warlpiri artists of the Tanami Desert. Warlpiri artists began painting there in the early 1970’s as a direct result of family and ceremonial ties between Papunya and Yuendumu. Yuendumu became only the second community after Papunya (Geoffrey Bardon provided the impetus at Papunya in 1969) to establish itself as a centre for desert artists.
The next major development came in 1983 with the above mentioned community-based project leading to the painting of Yuendumu’s School Doors. This created such an interest that it was decided that an Art centre should be formed, and Warlukurlangu was created in 1985.
This has been a critical success for artists of Yuendumu, allowing their works to be promoted to an international audience, including at the Dreamings exhibition in New York in 1988 and the Magiciens de la Terre in Paris in 1989. Since then continuous exhibitions both internationally and Australia-wide have established an image of the Yuendumu style, typified by fine dotting technique and a multi-hued colour palette.
In 2005 Yuendumu has had a busy year. The Community has hosted 20 year anniversary celebrations for the opening of the Warlukurlangu Art centre, as well as opening a new purpose-built art centre and promoting a national program of exhibitions.
The exhibition at Japingka Gallery opens on Friday 25 November. Senior artists as well as emerging ones are expressing a new found sense of freedom in their treatment of traditional Jukurpa (Dreamings) and the stories, sites and family histories of their ancestral lands of the Tanami. They have produced paintings of great vitality and freshness that reinvigorate the rich tradition of Warlpiri culture.
Leading painters from the community, including Judy Watson, Shorty Robertson, Paddy Stewart and Betsy Lewis, produce works of electric colour and energy, and confirm their place in the history of Central Desert painters.