Home/Visual arts/Artists of Barkly celebrate ‘Spinifex Country’ at Japingka Gallery 

Artists of Barkly celebrate ‘Spinifex Country’ at Japingka Gallery 

Published On: June 22nd, 2023Categories: Visual arts
Bush Medicine at the Swamp, Agnes Rubuntja, 2023
 “After the bushfires, when we go hunting, we see black. Then the rain comes and the snappy gums turn green and all the flowers and bush medicines bloom again.” 
– Ada Pula Beasley

In the hot months, kwaty (rain) fills ephemeral waterholes and flocks of birds pirouette through stormy skies. Delicate flowers scatter the rocky ground, dancing in the fabled Barkly breeze. As days grow shorter, kwaty retreats into the earth and vivid greens fade to pale yellow. Rwa (fire) devours summer’s bounty, coating the ground in silver ash. Time ushers in more rain and spinifex country will soon be green again.

Alatyeyt-angketyarr: Spinifex Country brings together works by Alyawarr, Warumungu and Warlpiri artists from Owairtilla (Canteen Creek), Tennant Creek and Wutunugurra (Epenarra). The exhibition explores the cyclical nature of the central desert. Utilising a broad visual language typical of the Barkly region, artists employ a bright palette, rhythmic mark-making and exaggerated depictions of bush flowers and medicines, capturing the vast, repetitive landscape and transporting the viewer to Alatyeyt-angketyarr – Spinifex Country.

Bush Flowers Blooming In The Desert, Fiona Corbett, 2022

The diverse artworks share a degree of innocence in the views of country and group activities. The narrative style of the paintings reflects the local preference to exclude traditional motifs and symbols that dominate Central and Western Desert art. In is place are images of Country where people have travelled and harvested bush medicine and bush food from native plants.

A joyful sense of life in the communities and in the bush comes through with these paintings.

Alatyeyt-angketyarr: Spinifex Country is online and at Japingka Aboriginal Art, Fremantle from 26th May – 5th July.

Waterfall That Come Down From The Hill, Benita Woodman, 2022

Walkabout Swamp, Lynette Bonney, 2023

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