An investment in beauty
These paintings originate from the Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Association (WAAA) in Yuendumu, an artisan village bordering the Tanami Desert in remote Central Australia. Many paintings have been done collaboratively. Five or six artists paint together, working out the proper symbolism of the story they tell. Each work is original and unique and includes the detailed “story” of the painting.
The Warlukurlangu artists create representations of the spiritual forces of the complex philosophy, sites, and moral rules of their religious culture, or Jukurrpa, in visible layered mark, line, design, and pattern. Traditionally, select tribal members depicted the Jukurrpa onto compacted sand, to be celebrated and taught during tribal ceremonies.
These tribes are very much rooted in the land, and hold many sites to be sacred vessels of spiritual truth. Creator-Beings who traveled the country brought all things in the natural world into being. They also dictated moral law and kinship systems. Their wanderings created maps of interconnecting spiritually-embued pathways and connection points, which help define the sacred sites.
The Walpiri believe the country “talks.” Their task as artists is to actually embody the ancestral experiences and lessons at the sites into the external landscape of skin, bark, canvas, sand, etc. The ancestor lives on in the painting. Artists still earn or inherit the right to paint certain stories, designs or sites, and thus must work collaboratively on many subjects.
In the 1980’s, concerned about their children’s education, tribal elders collaborated to paint numerous complex sites and stories onto the famous Yuendumdu Doors. International acclaim for the doors led to interest in the paintings, then expanding out to today’s enterprise including paintings, hand-woven and hand-dyed fabrics and rugs and unique clothing.
View our entire selection on the website under GALLERY.