Laundry Gallery’s Latest Exhibition Of Vivid, Flowing Silks Is On Now To See + Shop!

Celebrating aliveness of cultures, of stories and of creative ingenuity, Laundry Gallery’s latest exhibition, Yara Kutjupa (A Different Way), showcases the vivid hand painted silks of Tjarlirli and Kaltukatjara Art in the Western Desert.

Tjarlirli and Kaltukatjara Arts is one of the few Aboriginal  Art Centres that works across state lines. Tjukurla Community is a Ngaanyatjarra and Pitjantjatjara community 300km West of Uluru, just beyond the Northern Territory border in Western Australia.

Nestled between sand dunes and the vast Lake Hopkins salt lake, it is home to roughly 50 people who speak several varieties of the Western Desert Languages of Ngaatjatjarra, Ngaanyatjarra,Pitjantjatjarra, Pintupi and Luritja. Kaltukatjara sits just across the border in the NPY Lands of the Northern Territory. These communities by definition, are very remote.

The joint management of the Art Centre strengthens cultural preservation, economic and social benefits, and new creative practices. Known for a bright and wide-ranging colour palette synonymous with the contemporary Western Desert art movement, the bold creative ingenuity of Tjarlirli and Kaltukatjara artists connects us back to the rich stories of a place steeped in cultural heritage, that very few of us will ever visit.

Since 2020 the artists of Tjarlirli and Kaltukatjara have been exploring silk painting, building upon well established skills with acrylic painting on canvas.

‘We are a new generation. We do different stories and trying to make [art] different ways,’ says artist Winsome Newberry. ‘Canvas, we have done for many years and now we want to do different ways, new skills, wiruyna (beautiful) new skills. It’s good to do it – walykumunu (wonderful)! Nintiringaku (learning). Ngayulu (me) first time, I do it this way [on silk] and I felt pukulpa (happy) to do different skills. It makes us proud to be learning so we can pass it on to the kids.’

The silks are painted with dyes, which offer an unexpected spontaneity to the way colours blend. Paired with the fluidity of the silk itself, these kaleidoscopic works have a freedom that is difficult to attain in other mediums and reflect the artists’ deep and ongoing connection to their cultures, languages and communities.

‘Nara pbidialu yurri-la… flowing, you know? When we do canvas, no yurri (movement), but fabric moves around. Blowing in the wind, moving… Pbidia (wind) yurri… moving it around… Piirnpirrnpa (soft)… soft one and really lovely,’ says artist Faith Butler.

They also evoke joy and playfulness.

‘Everybody was happy, everyone painting,’ says Faiyh. ‘Pbidia-ya-nara, yuuridii, yurrina… waving and blowing and moving around. He’s talking now, pbidia (breeze). This is the story, what we are doing in Tjukurla, us mob, in the Western Desert, learning… napatji napatji (two ways) We’re learning and we’re teaching.’

Yara Kutjupa (A Different Way) is showing at Laundry Gallery now, shop all available artworks here. 

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