This work depicts the Musgrave Ranges behind Amata. The dark areas are the mountains viewed from above and from the side. The dark blue areas in the centre of the mountains are the water holes where water collects after the rains.
This painting depicts the native Ultukunpa, honey grevillea, which is a favourite bush food of the Anangu (Aboriginal people). It grows in the sandy soil on the plains. The flowers are picked and placed in water to make a cordial, or sucked for their sweet nectar.
Ruby Williamson has painted the mountain ranges behind Amata. The mountains are shown from the side in yellow, while the rock holes that found in the ranges are in magenta, viewed from above. Williamson has also included the native grevillea.
This work is from the Tjala archives and has never previously been exhibited.
Nganampa Ngura - Our Country, 2013 brings together all of Tjala Arts’ women on one monumental, unprecedented canvas. Commissioned by the Art Gallery of South Australia for its HEARTLAND exhibition, this painting is an outpouring of the women’s belief in the essential role of Country in the lives of Anangu. Behind the indisputable bold and dazzling physical qualities of the painting lies a profound statement of connectivity: to the land, their culture and to each other.
The primacy of the individual defines Western cultures, but within Aboriginal cultures individualism is an exception. Instead, the strength of the individual comes from the health of the community and culture, both of which rely on a direct and unfettered connection to County. Hence “Country” finds its expression in infinite ways through art and life. Its repetition acts as a meditation to centre the mind, heart and soul, and to reinforce connectivity. This is evidenced in the harmonious composition achieved by thirteen women ranging in age and seniority; the individual styles are discernable, but the aesthetic values are drawn from shared cultural and communal values.
Tjala’s established and emerging artists are extensively represented in public and private collections internationally.
HEARTLAND: Contemporary Art from South Australia, Nici Cumpston & Lisa Slade, Art Gallery of South Australia, 2013.