The depth of family ties at the core of aboriginal culture was very much in evidence at the Alcaston Gallery last Saturday afternoon. The opening of an exhibition showcasing three aboriginal artists was attended by close family of the artists who spoke endearingly on their behalf. (The artists were unable to attend). The artist’s work I was most keen to see was that of Christine Yukenbarri. She comes from a long line of painters, her father, Helicopter Tjungurrayi amongst them. Significantly, she paints the stories told to her by her mother. This appears to be an abiding motivation in her work. There is an interesting podcast available on the the Alcaston website in which Christine talks about her art and country. The bond with her mother is repeatedly evident. In that context, the works on display at Alcaston are joyous, stunning, original depictions of ancient stories. Themes include Witjinti (soakwater), Mungari (bush food), Winpurpurla (her late mothers country in the Great Sandy Desert). The central circle represents the soakwater while the linear areas represent the sand dunes.
(Detail – Winpurpurla by Christine Yukenbarri, 2010)
Winpurpurla by Christine Yukenbarri, 2010 Synthetic polymer paint on linen.
In November 2010 Alcaston Gallery welcomed another fave of mine Tiger Palpatja. His use of colour is similarly a joy to behold.
I cant finish this post without mentioning the scones served at the gallery for the opening. I’m told that they were procured from the Gertrude Street Organic Bakery. Both the gallery and the bakery are worth a visit.
My sincere thanks to assistant curator Adriana Del Medico for her assistance and to gallery management for allowing me to photograph the works.
Alcaston Gallery is at 11 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. The exhibition runs from February 8th to March 4th.