Apr 15, 2009
Painting the Power back into Painting
Image painted by Ruby Reid
Hello Friends of Blackstone!
We have reached a turning point at Papulankutja Artists. We have had strong cultural leaders pass away, some have moved into respite and others have simply moved to another community. With this great loss over time, the art works of Blackstone Community have been in a fragile state. The strength of our artworks relies on the strong cultural knowledge which accompanies them and with the loss of strong leaders, the knowledge grows weak and the power felt and seen in an art work is lost. The previous Manager of Papulankutja Artists, Dianna Isgar has achieved wonderful results in setting up a platform for a new generation of artists to step up. With her vision and efforts the new Art Centre Building was built, and now a fully realized creation, this building is a haven for men and women of all ages to participate in cultural knowledge and art. Accompanying the new building is the enthusiasm of the artist, who have slowly and surely stepped up from strength to strength, painting the power back into the painting.
We talk about this power, how the dotting of the spinifex in country mirrors the dotting of the brush on canvas. The way colours in country work well together and how the same colour patterns can be conveyed with paint. We talk about the important symbols in the story and how to make these symbols stand out, using the right colours and textures of paint to highlight those powerful symbols and markings. An important aspect of Blackstone art is the concept of track making, tracks of ancestral beings and tracks of animals important to the storyteller. These tracks dance along the painting as in the ceremony accompanying the story, or the tracks may have a serious presence, marked out with broad sweeping brush strokes. Tracks are fine and detailed or they are thick and lush with dotted texture.
On closer review of the Blackstone paintings, artists have never really lost the power portrayed by those strong leaders of the past, they have just been waiting for the right platform and the right encouragement to move forwards. People of Blackstone community have an incredible wealth of knowledge, but as a genuinely humble people, they have been waiting to step up as strong painters, allowing those who have gone before them to lead the way.
And now the time has come.
We have young artists showing natural talent for colour and composition and the more mature men and women are strengthening their works on a daily basis. Artists in Blackstone work hard at painting and work well, and some have shown that the power in painting never left us. Papulankutja Artists are genuine story tellers with a natural ability to paint and share their culture through vibrant, strong, powerful works and we hope to meet and share these powerful works with any friends that show a genuine interest in our Blackstone Community and our Art Centre.