The Stories of the Elders
Posted: 31 Mar 2011 | By: Apolline Kohen
Since relocating his gallery in Alice Springs, Raft Artspace Gallery Director Dallas Gold has forged some strong ties with artists and arts centres from Central Australia.
The exhibition I hold my Father's Story, I hold my Mother's Story is the result of a project initiated by artist Hector Tjupuru Burton, who approached Dallas Gold to host the show. In 2010, Hector Tjupuru Burton, a senior artist working for Tjala Arts, a remote arts centre located at Amata community in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands, started to bring young men to the arts centre to teach them his stories and how to paint. Other old men followed Burton's initiative. This resulted in an intense period of transmission of cultural and artistic knowledge to the young men. At the time, the Amata community grieved the tragic loss of Kumanara Raymond, a young talented football player who passed away in a car accident. Burton and the other elders decided to produce a series of artworks with the young men to honour the memory of Raymond.
Led by the artist Tjungkara Ken, Raymond's mother, the women joined the project and more works were produced. The exhibition showcases the series of large-scale collaborative works done through this project, which will not only honour the memory of the much loved young footballer but also help with raising some funds to support the Amata football team. The rich colourful acrylic paintings explore the stories and important places of the Amata region. Dotting, flat colours, figurative motifs and conceptual abstraction are used on the canvases to communicate the Tjukurpa stories.
Minymaku Arts, which was founded by the women of Amata in 1997, was renamed Tjala Arts in 2006 to reflect the involvement of Anangu men in the art centre activities. Tjala artists are quickly gaining recognition for their work and some of the artists who have collaborated in this series of canvases are already featured in important public collections: Ruby Tjangawa Williamson, Ray Ken, Hector Tjupuru Burton and rising star Tjungkara Ken. The strength of this show is the collaboration between young and senior artists to translate and interpret Anangu stories onto large canvases. Charged with emotions, power and pride, these paintings demonstrate the strength and vitality of the Anangu culture and its contemporary art practices. A new generation of artists is emerging, trained and encouraged by senior artists and supported by Tjala Arts. The exhibition is showing at Raft Artspace until the end of March. Within a year of opening his gallery in Alice Springs, Gold has kept his promise of developing solid relationships with artists of the region to enable the presentation of unique, challenging art projects.