Arkeria Rose Armstrong
a vibrant young female Gamilaraay artist, was born in a small town in South Australia called Ceduna in 1988 to Stephanie and Robert Armstrong. Art has always been a part of Arkeria’s life. Her mum still has her childhood drawings in boxes under her bed as well as a few pictures framed and displayed in their family home. Arkeria now lives in Bendigo, Victoria with her partner and is in her final year of university studying teaching. Naturally she is majoring in art and likes to use her artistic skills when teaching. Her middle name comes from her grandmother Rose Fernando who has since sadly passed away. Rose Fernando was a Gamilaraay Elder and one of the last sand painters in northern NSW and her special nickname for Arkeria was “Lilly-Rose”. She had a significant influence on Arkeria, both in her daily life and now years later in her art. Arkeria credits her grandmother and her mother for encouraging her to develop a strong connection to culture and a strong personal identity. Women are intrinsically linked to the stories portrayed in her artwork. Women telling stories, sharing ideas and knowledge is what Arkeria has known all her life and this can be seen in her art.
Peter Overs was born in Brisbane in 1976. A Kamilaroi man, his home country is Dirranbandi in South-West Queensland. Growing up, Peter had continual exposure to his country with hunting trips, fishing and story-telling of his people’s traditional ways. This ongoing exposure to and connection with his culture saw him join a group of 26 young men who became the first Kamilaroi to be formally initiated into tribal ways for around 100 years. As part of that process, Peter took the traditional name of Dhinawan or Emu. Peter primarily paints his people’s Emu Dreaming Story which relates to the balance and order of the universe. In the story, the emu eats the quandong fruit and the seeds get stuck in its feet and beak. As the emus move around the countryside they disperse the seed and new quandong fruit regenerate. Peter’s started to paint over 25 years ago and he has taken inspiration from Dorothy Napangardi, Walala Tjapaltjarri and Ronnie Tjampitjinpa. It was their works and encouragement that saw him develop his own unique style that he continues to explore today. Peter currently lives in Alice Springs.
Sarrita King was born in Adelaide, South Australia on the 5th March 1988. She is the younger sister to fellow artist, Tarisse King and daughter to the late highly regarded artist, William King Jungala. Sarrita inherits her Australian Aboriginality from her father who was part of the Gurindji tribe from the Northern Territory. The Gurindji tribe came to public attention during the 1960s and 1970s when members employed by the Wave Hill cattle station led a landmark case which became the first successful land rights claim in Australia. It is this same strong sense of self and pride that Sarrita embodies and it fuels her drive to paint her totemic landscape. Sarrita spent most of her youth growing up in Darwin in the Northern Territory. Not far from where her ancestors inhabited, it is here that her connection to her Aboriginality and subsequently the land was able to grow. Her exposure to the imperious weather and extreme landscape has provided the theme for her works of art, since she began painting at age 16. Rolling sand hills, cracking lightning and thunderstorms, torrential rain, fire, desert and tangled bush are all scathing environmental factors that shaped her forefather’s lives and also her own. Depicting these elements in her paintings, Sarrita provides a visual articulation of the earth’s language.
June was born on Texas Downs Station in 1962. She has lost both her mother and father however Madigan Thomas (Senior ochre artist) and husband Sandy Thomas, a Traditional Elder, brought her up and treat her like a daughter. She lives in Kununurra, has eight children and visits her relatives at Warmun frequently. She was from an early age taught painting by the best of our famous first generation ochre artists, including Jack Britten (dcd), Madigan Thomas, Lena Nyadbi. These Elders devoted their lives to teaching youngsters culture, Traditional Dreamtime stories and ochre painting technique. June is the niece of our most famous ochre artist, Rover Thomas. June’s mother was one of five sisters (Rita being Rover’s wife) and every one of these women, all from Texas Downs Station, have produced highly talented artists. June’s eldest daughter Deanne is following in her mother’s footsteps and is an accomplished artist.June has an extended family, and through her mother, father, aunties and uncles, is able to paint the huge expanse of Kitja land, including Purnululu (Bungles) and Doon Doon. This gives the artist a wonderful content for her works, and June is fastidious about the Kitja Dreaming Stories represented in her paintings. She travels extensively in her country, and paints with precision and authenticity. June paints both in the typical Warmun style (thick, crusty ochre), as well as fine, detailed works in minimal palette. She is the only artist we know who has completed collaborative works with the highly sought after artist Tommy Carroll – June’s detailed style combined with Tommy’s balanced, minimal imaging resulted in magic paintings.
Thomas Tjapaltjarri was born sometime around 1964 in the Gibson Desert, Western Australia. Thomas and his family which includes fellow artists Warlimpirrnga, Walala, Yukultji, Yalti and Tjakaria led a completely nomadic life until they emerged from the desert, coming to Kiwirrkurra in 1984. Dubbed “the Last Nomads” or “the Pintupi nine”, they had had no contact with western society until this point. Amazingly, he transitioned from an utterly traditional lifestyle to commencing as an artist within a matter of a few years and painting the traditional stories of his people. Thomas paints simple, geometric designs and uses a dotting technique shared with other Pintupi artists such as his brothers, Warlimpirrnga and Walala, and with Willy and George Ward Tjungurrayi. Thomas’s works explore the stories of the Tingari cycle. Tingari are the legendary beings of the Pintupi people that travelled the desert performing rituals, teaching law, creating landforms and shaping what would become ceremonial sites. As far as we can know, the meanings behind Tingari paintings are multi-layered, however, those meaning are not available to the uninitiated.
|Debra Young Nakamarra
comes for an important and influential family of artists from the Western Desert region in Central Australia. She was born in 1964 to parents; Walangkura Napanangka and Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula; both of who are famous Western Desert artists represented by Papunya Tula Artists. Along with Debra, her two sisters’ Lorraine Yungut Nakamarra and Katherine Marshall Nakamarra are also emerging artists in their own right. Central Art has the pleasure of presenting art by Debra, Lorraine, and Walangkura Napanangka.Debra began painting in 1984 along with her sisters, under the guidance of their mother who taught them their Dreaming stories. Walangkura also shared with them the important traditional Aboriginal iconography used to depict stories through art. As such Debra’s works are similar and fit within the Papunya Tula movement with thick paint application and dots which join. Of course Debra has made her Dreaming her own by adding her own preferred colours and individual touch. Debra’s depictions are bold, strong and culturally significant for Pintupi women.The women’s stories which Debra is known for share the sacred knowledge of women’s places where Dreamtime stories are shared and handed down through the generations. She focuses on the geographical features of the Western Desert around Kiwirrkurra and Papunya, displaying rock holes, sand hills and caves. The traditional iconography represents meeting places and the landscape
and encompasses all the important “business” which occurs at these sites.
Debra mixes the traditional designs with bright and feminine colours such as orange, purple and pink and as you view the artworks you get a sense of the important stories which are shared through the artwork on multiple levels – through the land and the emotional connection between women as they share stories and participate in ceremonies. Central Art has some good examples of her painting style and colour schemes.
Debra’s works have begun to be exhibited more in the recent past with her works being recognised and admired by local Alice Springs galleries and around Australia. She is an emerging artist and the stories that are shared through her artwork are important and sacred for Pintupi people and as such should be included in any collection.