Warburtonta-latju Warntu Palyaranytja

We are doing Warntu Work in Warburton

11 Brown Street, East Perth WA 6004
Start Date
31 July, 2008
End Date
14 September, 2008

Warburton Community in the Gibson Desert of Western Australia, is the largest of the eleven Ngaanyatjarra communities.  It is located 900km northeast of Kalgoorlie.  Ngaanyatjarra people still maintain a partially nomadic lifestyle, predominantly based in one location and moving between communities, upholding social, cultural and political obligations.

Since 1988, Warburton Community has purchased significant paintings by senior Ngaanyatjarra artists, predominantly acrylic on canvas.  Production, acquisition and exhibition has been co-ordinated since 1989 by the Warburton Arts Project, with the vision of developing a living repository of cultural works produced by and for Ngaanyatjarra Community members.  Several large exhibitions have been held showcasing work from the Warburton Community Arts Collection.  In addition to work shown within the community at the local Tjulyuru Regional Arts Gallery and other regional galleries, these artists have held national and international exhibitions.

We are accustomed to showing our work to outsiders of our rich tradition of singing and dancing, body painting, sand drawing, rock art, and working in wood. We have added new media, the now ‘traditional’ acrylic on canvas, glass (large architectural and domestic), ceramics, digital media and fashion design’. ‘There is an enormous variety in the sign-making repertoire of contemporary Ngaanyatjarra people – both as to content and to the choice of media.’

                                                                        Albie Viegas, Coordinator of the Warburton Arts Project

As an opportunity for artists to extend their existing art practice, a series of textile workshops held in Warburton throughout 2007 introduced felted rugmaking techniques. ‘We haven’t used felt before, and with the help of our friend Sujora Conrad, we made these warntu – a bit like blanket, or clothes you put on’, suggests artist Tjingapa Davies.

Senior Ngaanyatjarra artists were immediately attracted to the physicality of the wool and stimulated to adapt traditional motifs to this new medium.  When making the initial marks in wool, fibre artist Christine West commented, ‘Ngayulu-rna purtu kantjurranytja. I was walking gently on the warntu, making the felt, making the wool rub together’. 

A number of artists have engaged in this new process, easily able to transcribe their ideas into surface design that sits well with this new medium and reflects their comfort and ability to tell story using visual language.  As first time painter Walya Mitchell observes, “Ngayulu-rna palyarnu. Nyangu-rna mukurringu Kunma palyarnu, ngayuku ngurra. I was watching all the ladies making warntu, blanket.  I was thinking, ‘Oh I’d like to do about my country, Kunma’”.

This show will offer Perth audiences the opportunity to communicate with Ngaanyatjarra artists, both at the level of personal conversation and in the public domain of ‘floor talk’.  It will provide history and context – illustrating meaning behind motif, and locating traditional and personal imagery in the actual lives of the artists.

Ngaanyatjarra Artists and the Warburton Community, in conjunction with the Tjulyuru Cultural and Civic Centre, are pleased to be exhibiting these new works at the Holmes à Court Gallery in August/September 2008.  Five of the senior artists will be in attendance at the opening to introduce the works and speak with the public.

Free Public talk                         Winter Salons

Sunday 3 August 4pm                                 Wednesdays 13 & 20 August

Artists: Taparti Bates, Tjingapa Davies, Dora Lane, Elizabeth Holland, Nora Holland, Nola Hunt, Nyumitja Laidlaw, Myra Lawson, Neville McArthur, Walya Mitchell, Eunice Porter, Betty West, Christine West, Debra West, Lalla West

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no. 10 Gallery

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Phone: +61 8 6217 2640
Address: 10 Douglas Street, Gooyaman | West Perth WA 6005

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Holmes à Court Gallery
Janet Holmes à Court Collection

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