Featuring Owen Lee
Featuring Ronnie Allen, Nola Yurnangurnu Campbell, Doreen Chapman, May Mayiwalku (May Wokka) Chapman
Emilia Galatis Projects is owned by Emilia Galatis a curator, art consultant, cultural producer and Indigenous arts development specialist from Australia seeking to strengthen, and support community led contemporary artistic practice for artists and their arts organisations.
George Ward (b.1945)
George Ward Tjungurrayi is a Pintupi man born near the site of Lararra, east of Tjukurla in Western Australia c. 1945. His first contact with Europeans was made through one of the welfare patrols led by Jeremy Long and Nosepeg Tjupurrula at a rockhole south of Kiwirrkura. After travelling into Papunya, he worked as both a fencer as well as a butcher in the Papunya kitchen. George’s father was also the father of Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungurrayi and Willy Tjungurrayi and although they had different mothers, he considers them very close brothers. He moved to Warakurna some years ago with his wife and family, but now resides at Wanarn Aged Care. George was a senior artist at Papunya Tula Artists and has exhibited widely here in Australia and internationally to much acclaim. His paintings depict the Tingarri Song Cycle which describes the route of the dreamtime people who travelled from the sea near Port Hedland to the northern part of the central desert. Often, George paints a specific section of this journey where men, women and children travelled north through Wirrintjunku, Pukaritjarra, Tarkal, Nyun and Kirritji as they move toward Tjukurla.
Ronnie Allen (b. 1939)
Ronnie Allen lives and works from Docker River Community, roughly 200km from Uluru. Born in 1939, Mr Allen is a Pitjatjantjara man who works slowly and thoughtfully.
Ronnie Allen is a self-taught artist and a respected elder in the Kaltukatjara (Docker River) community. Ronnie’s family’s country is Kunapula, just south of Kaltukatjara. He has spent much of his life traveling the Western Desert as a Christian Pentecostal pastor.
Ronnie paints several tjukurpa (dreaming) stories including Tingarri (ceremony), mulga seed, maku (witchety grub) and tjala (honey ant). He also paints a unique fusion of tjukurpa with Pentecostal imagery, in which he depicts Yarnangu and Western people holding gatherings. These gatherings play host to ceremonial dances, religious worship, and moral discussions.
As such, Ronnie’s work visualises elements of the relationship between Yarnangu and Christian belief systems, stemming from the influence of Christian missionaries in recent history. Ronnie draws together these two worlds in a celebration of community and faith. Through Ronnie’s work, we can see that the interplay between Yarnangu and Christian spirituality has become an indelible aspect of community history and identity.
Nola Campbell (b.1948)
Nola Campbell is a Manyjilyjarra/ Ngaanyatjarra woman born in 1948 near Wiluna in her ancestral home lands that form vast parts of the remote Western Desert of Australia.
Nola Campbell was born in the bush close to the site of Tatjarr in the late 1940s. She grew up living a traditional lifestyle, travelling the country with her family between Kiwirrkurra and Kunawarritji. Nola lost her parents when she was young and was brought up by Mankatji Carnegie and Mr Carnegie. She was taken to Warburton as a young woman and there she married her first husband, Mr Butler. She moved to Wiluna and later Patjarr, where she then married the artist, Coiley Campbell. Mr Campbell gave Nola permission to paint his story and she continues this tjukurrpa (dreamtime story/ homelands) today, depicting sites at Yunpalara, a remote soak in the Pila Reserve.
Nola has been the subject of an Indigenous Community Stories produced film, entitled Nola's Story. The film aired during the 2016 Fremantle Art Centre Revealed Program in conjunction with the Maritime Museum and Indigenous Community Stories.
Part place, part story; Yunpalara (Lake Blair) is a large lake bed west of Patjarr. It is more often dry than not, relying on rainfall to fill it. After rain the lake is home to many water birds. The surface cracks as it dries. Ngirntaka (ancestral perentie goanna) travelling from Well 33 on the Canning Stock Route came through this area and created Yunpalara on his way with a large sweep of his tail.
Doreen Chapman is a Manyjilyjarra woman born at Jigalong Mission in the early 1970’s, though she soon moved with her family to newly Aboriginal owned Strelley Station. In Doreen’s youth, she continued to travel between remote Pilbara communities including Warralong, Punmu and Marble Bar with her mother, senior Martumili Artist May Wokka Chapman. Today Doreen primarily lives in Warralong community, and paints between art centres Spinifex Hill Studios and Martumili Artists.
Doreen first learned to paint alongside her mother, beginning her artistic career with Martumili Artists in March 2009 when she and the other women of Punmu painted a large collaborative artwork to raise funds for the community. Doreen is now an established artist in her own right, known for her loose, uninhibited painting style. As a deaf woman, painting is an important means of communication and expression. Her uncanny and poignant documentary of events and community life offer contemporary counter narratives of Australian history.
Mayiwalku May Chapman (b.1940)
Mayiwalku May Chapman is a Manyjilyjarra woman born in 1940. She is the eldest sister of fellow Martumili Artists Nancy Nyanjilpayi (Ngarnjapayi) Chapman, Mulyatingki Marney and Marjorie Yates (dec.). Her mother was Warnman and her father was Manyjilyjarra. Mayiwalku was born to the East, in Yirnangarri, “where the two footprints lie”. Her family’s Country extends across the Punmu, Kunawarritji (Canning Stock Route Well 33) and Karlamilyi (Rudall River) regions. Following the death of both their parents, Mayiwalku and her sisters travelled alone between Punmu and Kunawarritji, occasionally meeting with other family groups. They later walked south into Karlamilyi, where they first saw a plane flying overhead. Petrified, they hid under spinifex grass until the plane had passed.
Following the construction of the Canning Stock Route in 1910, the family increasingly came into contact with Europeans and Martu working as cattle drovers along the route. Gradually men from Mayiwalku’s family began to work seasonally at stations around Jigalong, but as a family group they remained living in the desert long after most Martu had moved to Jigalong Mission. Finally, in 1966, following a prolonged and severe drought, Mayiwalku and her sisters made the decision to walk to Balfour Downs, where they were collected by Jigalong Mission staff.
Mayiwalku lived for many years at Jigalong Mission before eventually relocating with her five children to Warralong, a community south east of Port Hedland. She continues to live in Warralong today with her daughter and equally renowned artist, Doreen Chapman. Mayiwalku was one of Martumili’s pioneering artists, and is highly regarded for her technically sophisticated works. Her paintings depict her ngurra (home Country, camp); the Country she walked as a young woman, its animals, plants, waterholes and associated Jukurrpa (Dreaming) narratives. Mayiwalku’s work has been exhibited widely across Australia and internationally, and acquired by the National Museum of Australia.
Emilia Galatis Projects
48 Chester Street
South Fremantle WA 6162
+ 61 421 839 545