In These HANDS: Mara nyangangka
5 October – 14 November 2018
Sturt Gallery and Ernabella Arts present In These HANDS: Mara nyangangka, an exhibition of new paintings, ceramics, tjanpi weavings and punu from the artists of Ernabella, celebrating 70 years of Ernabella Arts.
The fruits of a partnership between Australia's two oldest centres for craft and design – Sturt Gallery & Studios (1941) and Ernabella Arts (1948), are the subject of this exhibition. In the late 1960s, Elisabeth Nagel, who led the Sturt Weaving Studio for 50 years, made visits to Ernabella in far north South Australia with a desire to share knowledge of her craft. Subsequently, five young artists from Ernabella went to Sturt as part of a residency to learn new weaving techniques.
In These HANDS: Mara nyangangka tells the story of that residency, its impact on the generations that followed, and offers a showcase of the contemporary work of senior artists including Pepai Jangala Carroll, Rupert Jack, Tjunkaya Tapaya and Alison Milyika Carroll alongside emerging Indigenous artists.
In These HANDS not only tells the historical story of the link between these two famous centres, it celebrates the long tradition of craft and design in Australia while at the same time being testament to the positive partnership and understanding between an Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural institution sharing that same passion for ‘making’.
Our drawings are inside us, they are part of us in the same way we are part of this country. Everyone works differently but we are all putting down our country and our stories.
We have strong law and culture, and this tells Anangu how to live. Our ways still remain the same, it never changes. Our law, our culture and the way we live – we would never want any of this to change. It keeps us strong.
~ Anne Thompson
About Ernabella Arts
Established in 1948, Ernabella Arts is Australia’s oldest, continuously running Indigenous Art Centre. Ernabella Arts is in Pukatja Community, at the eastern end of the Musgrave Ranges in the far north west of South Australia.
Pukatja was the first permanent settlement on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands). A craft room was established in 1948, and the first craft products were hand-loomed woven fabrics and hand-pulled and knotted floor rugs with a unique pattern that became known as ‘the Ernabella walka’ or anapalayaku walka (Ernabella’s design).
In recent years, long after commencing working as artists, senior women decided to leave behind the walka of the early days and to depict their Tjukurpa (sacred stories of country and law).
The Centre’s inimitable reputation lies in the adaptability and innovation of the artists who have been introduced to many different mediums since the craft room began. Ernabella Arts is an Aboriginal owned and run corporation which promotes and supports ethical practice in the creation and sale of Indigenous art.
About Sturt Gallery & Studios
Sturt was founded in 1941 by Winifred West (1881-1971) when she retired as headmistress from Frensham, an independent secondary school for girls established in 1913.
Interested in the value of relationships between individuals and communities, the links between hand and mind and ‘the development of individual talents and personalities’, Miss West’s intent was to provide further education in crafts, music and drama for children who had left the local primary school, and for adults seeking useful and creative skills.
Sturt started with one building where, at weekends, six girls learned spinning and weaving, while two boys did woodwork nearby and adults came during the week. By 1949, 150 children were enrolled.
Eventually formal workshops were set up: Wood (1947), Weaving (1951), Pottery (1954), Jewellery and Metalwork (1965), Screenprinting (1973), Sturt School for Wood (1985), Design & Fabrication Studios (2014).
Today, Sturt is recognised nationally as a centre of excellence for the promotion, production and teaching of Australian craft and design.
In These Hands: Mara nyangangka - A Conversation
Come and hear about the artists, the arts practices and the history of Ernabella Arts in an illuminating conversation about the exhibition.
When: Saturday 6 October, 11.30am - 12.30pm
Where: Australian Design Centre
Tickets: FREE, bookings required
Image Top: Yurpiya Lionel, Anumara (detail) 2017, Photo: Alex Craig, courtesy Ernabella Arts
Image Bottom: View from Womikata, Photo: Rhett Hammerton, courtesy Ernabella Arts