Paintings from Durrmu Arts.
We are thrilled to welcome Durrmu Arts to the gallery for their first exhibition with us!
Located in Peppimenarti, south west of Darwin, Durrmu Arts is a community based art centre that is making a notable return to the forefront of Aboriginal contemporary fine art.
Peppimenarti was established in the mid 1970s as a permanent settlement for the Ngangikurrunggurr people. ‘Peppi’ translates as rock and ‘menarti’ as large, referring to the rock formation that overlooks the community. Traditionally weavers, the women have translated their knowledge of weaving and fibres to the canvas to give a contemporary 2D expression to their ancient art.
Here the focus is on the intricacies of the designs and patterns found in ceremonial and utilitarian objects as depicted in works titled Fi (twine), Wagarrdi (dilly bag) and Syaw (fish net). Durrmu is the dotted designs applied to the face and/or body of men and women for ceremony and dance.
The art centre is led by senior artist Regina Pilawuk Wilson, winner of the General Painting category in the 2003 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards. Regina is acclaimed for her distinctive approach to expressing her masterly weaving skills as delicate, finely-wrought paintings of exceptional beauty. The harmony achieved in Regina’s works attests to her intimate understanding of the behaviour of fibres and their connection to her traditional culture.
Durrmu sadly saw the passing of senior artist and community leader, Patsy Marfarru earlier this year. Her stunning works demonstrate an innate sense of rhythm and colour; she moves with ease between soft pastels and vibrant pinks and yellows, across large and small scales. In each piece, the energy and flow of dance is ever-present. She was a finalist in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award (2003) and Xstrata Emerging Artist Award (2008).
The emerging artists at Durrmu Arts are an exciting sign of the centre’s bright future. Anastasia Naiya Wilson (Regina’s daughter), Dianne Hodgson, Miriam Byrnes, and senior woman Margaret Kundu are finding their own colourful approaches to interpreting their rich traditional practices. Anastasia has adopted basket weaving as her main motif where each colour is symbolic of aspects of the environment important to her culture. Dianne is experimenting with the effect of different washes underneath the durrmu to create movement and depth. Miriam has embraced colour in her pursuit of examining the patterns found in weaving. Margaret’s expression of durrmu contains echoes of the land beneath the dancers’ feet.
We hope you enjoy this exhibition of stunning works from the Top End!