Posted: 11 Sep 2012 | By: Apolline Kohen
Wati Ngintaka — The Story Of The Perentie Lizard Man
6–29 September 2012
The Aboriginal-owned arts centre Ninuku was established in 2006 to support the artists from two small communities: Pipalyatjara and Kalka. Both communities are located in the far north-western corner of South Australia, near the tri-state border of South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory. Ninuku Arts has not been around for a very long time but the artists it represents are talented, prolific and gaining international recognition.
Indeed, they recently had a very successful show in New York at Gallery nine5. Sandy Brumby, the rising star of Ninuku, who participated in the New York exhibition, is presenting his first solo show. In 2010, in his late sixties, Sandy Brumby picked up a paint brush for the first time and discovered a passion for painting and telling his stories on canvas. The marks he uses are reminiscent of symbols seen in rock paintings around Uluru and Kata Tjuta. His paintings are raw and bold, simple in composition but very strong. The power of his stories associated with country emanates from his colourful canvases. He uses colours with ease and is not afraid to use bright colours such as blues, oranges, pinks, which he sets against black backgrounds. Brumby is an artist to watch and, in the relatively short period of time he has been painting, his works have been acquired by significant public collections, including the National Gallery of Victoria and the Queensland Art Gallery. In the other space, a small group show, Wati Ngintaka—The Story Of The Perentie Lizard Man, gives us a taste of how other Ninuku artists paint and depict Wati Ngintaka Tjukurpa, an important creation story. The story is about Wati Ngintaka (lizard man), who heard the clapping sound of a beautiful grinding stone, which he immediately wanted. So he travelled, looking for the stone. At some point, he spotted lots of Aboriginal people who gave him delicious food. He immediately knew that it had been made with seeds ground on the special grinding stone he was looking for. He stole the grinding stone while the people were gone hunting. The people were angry that Wati Ngintaka stole the stone and chased him. When they caught him they speared and killed him at a place called Aran’nga and retrieved the grinding stone. A small group of artists, including Harry Tjutjuna, Yaritji Connelly, Yangi Yangi Fox and Nyanu Watson are participating in the Wati Ngintaka show. Each of them gives a very personal and unique interpretation of this important creation story. The two shows demonstrate the creativity and diversity of styles found in the vibrant community of Ninuku artists.
Sandy Brumby is represented by Tunbridge Gallery, Margaret River and has shown at Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.