Thursday, 5 August 2010

Around the Traps in Aboriginal Art...

So i've got a little bit to catch up on and I'll start with a thank you for the blog comments we've received recently. We appreciate you taking the time to let us know your thoughts.

Since our last entry Mbantua Gallery has had many new paintings arrive including these three pieces:
Clockwise from right: 'Tyape (Grubs) at Aremela Rockhole' by Gary Bird, 'Ntyemeny (Ruby Saltbush)' by Thelma Dixon and 'Bush Plum' by Tanya Bird

Tanya has recently returned to painting and told us she had an idea for new paintings using just white, black and grey to convey her subject. She wanted to know if we'd be interested in letting her try some out for us. Of course and we love them!! A lot of men from Tanya's family have also been keenly painting so keep a look out on Mbantua's website for these more traditional works like Gary's above.

Aboriginal artists Lena Pwerle and Jeannie Mills Pwerl spent a month at our workshop in town in July working on some paintings and going shopping, and I enjoyed listening to their stories and photographing them in action. One of my favourite moments was when I had just sat down with them, completely exhausted after a long day, and Lena told me fascinating stories - particularly about giving birth in the bush. I'll point out that my sister Andrea, who had her first child in May this year, had just stopped in to say a quick hello and after she left I asked Lena what it was like with her many children! She told me there was no help from nurses then and no drugs, just the other ladies of her community who had experienced it before. There was always a camp fire burning nearby, so the hot sand would be put over her afterwards to help the pain, and soak up blood. Lena recalled how her youngest child, Paul, was born 'when the rain was coming' in a dry river bed. After he was born, she couldn't breast feed him so they fed him chewed up bush yams and goanna meet, and kangaroo blood to keep him growing. I was so captivated listening to her talk.

The gallery has some fantastic pieces of their work online right now so I recommend checking it out. Personally I love so many things about this new piece by Lena below, measuring 210x90cm and painted in umber, ash pink and white...the mixed colour combinations throughout the soakages, the way the paints have blended together, the depth and the simple earthy tones. I love it!

Mbantua recently had a stunning collection of the late Minnie Pwerle's works in an exhibition which ends tomorrow. The exhibition is the first of a series which will be raising money for The Mbantua Foundation, of which you can contact the Foundation's newly appointed Development Manager Miranda Daniels on (08) 89533 577 should you want to learn more about it. Since the exhibition will go offline tomorrow, I've posted pics of a few of the paintings featured in it: 


I also recently went to Utopia to collect paintings and Miranda joined me on the trip which was great. So I'll be posting some notes and photos of the trip here soon too!