A desert storm and a shower of rain seem to mark the end of the festive season and the beginning of the new year here in Blackstone Community. With February upon us and Papulankutja Artists studio doors open once more we prepare for the new year with a summer clean, scrubbing floors and fridges and replenishing paint stocks and supplies. Slowly we begin to see the return of artists to the studio and the familiar practice of art making building momentum. The heat of January has been tough on everyone. It’s a slow time of the year up here, which gives us all time to ponder last year’s achievements and milestones.
2010 was a very busy year indeed with Papulankutja Artists staging eight shows around the country and pushing a steady stream of sales through stockrooms and direct from the studio door ensuring a top year financially for the art centre. However it was also a hard year with much sadness at the passing of Papulankutja’s top artist Cliff Reid and his wife Ruby. Unfortunately it didn’t stop there. The sadness for artists and families continued with a high level of sorry business occurring across the lands. This meant it was an unpredictable year full of contrasts in terms of production and activity. There were times of intense activity followed by an art centre in ghost town mode.
Still the show must go on and a successful festival in May gave everyone especially the younger artists and community members a chance to come together and enjoy happy times. The hair salon put on by Star and Wilurarra Creative from Warburton was the highlight along with glass artists from Melting Pot in Margaret River coming out for the week for the 6 th consecutive year in a row!!! As a result there are some young indigenous community members slowly becoming quite skilled at glass bead making.
In mid August the new Artists Shed (an outdoor studio space for artists) was built by our philanthropists friends The Millsteeds. Working extremely efficiently and for long hours the family including babies and toddlers pulled together to create this new space in a very short period of time. Artists have been enjoying painting outdoors under shelter from the sun and wind. This new space also joins the main art centre studio to the men’s painting space in a separate donga. The space also encompasses a fire pit and some concrete seats, a nice place to sit in the cooler months and roast some roo tails. Many thanks to the Millsteeds for their generosity, spirit and pure hard physical yakka to make this happen. Their gift to the artists at Blackstone is greatly appreciated. We hope they will be able to come and visit again sometime but this time to relax and enjoy the bush experience and the new art centre environment.
Last years successful application to Lottery West has seen the art centre with a new Toyota Troupe Carrier. Artists and staff were able to travel to Desert mob in September while also enjoying regular bush trips for artists on Wednesday afternoons. Many thanks to Lottery West for this vehicle. It has made a huge difference to the cultural lives of the artists not to mention the smooth and efficient running of the art centre!!! The drive home from Desert Mob took 17 hours with much of the journey travelling at 30 km/ph through water and mud. A midnight bogging just out of Wingelina put the vehicle to the test with some serious four wheel drive action required to get us out and going again.
The year really ran away from us after September like “wild horses over the hills” There were some visits by various consultants courtesy of Desart and art centre business in general and before we knew it an AGM was held and the new committee and chairs elected. We welcomed co-chairs Jennifer Mitchell and Craig Morrison to the position. Sadly both arts workers in Blackstone suffered losses before the year was out with Sherona Jackson losing both parents and Mildred Lyons losing her father. The sadness at theses losses really marked the end of the year and were telling tales of the year in general. With more sorry business to attend to and the Xmas period upon us the business wound down operations for the year giving everyone a well deserved break. Papulankutja Artists would like to thank everyone for all their support in 2010. We hope you all had a relaxing and happy festive period. This year we hope for a happy, healthy and productive 2011 for all our artists, artworkers and families.
Here is a sneak preview of new and exciting works by Angilyiya Mitchell. Angilyiya Mitchel is the daughter of well-known artist Anmanari Brown. In her mid fifties Angilyiya is a respected elder and law women in the community. She is creating some quality works utilizing a vibrant and bold colour palette like her mother to depict sacred places and stories reflecting her love and knowledge of country, law and culture. Angilyiya has found her own unique style of painting while working side by side with her mother Anmanari Brown. Expect to see more great things from Angilyiya this year.
Prints for Sale
A reminder to all our friends that some artist’s prints are still available for sale.
Check out Nomad Art online gallery www.nomadart.com.au for stunning prints by Anmanaria Brown and Tjayanka Woods. Priced accordingly these very special elders first prints on paper have been exquisitely printed by Basil Hall Editions in Darwin. Anamnari has painted Ngaturn Rockhole while Tjayanka Woods has painted the Seven Sisters story. Artist Thomas Reid has also done a beautiful wood block print on paper honouring the work of his late father Cliff Reid. Representing Papulankutja Artists in the 20 th Anniversary Desert Mob Panel Project last year his unique print is also available for purchase through Basil Hall Editions in Darwin. www.basilhalleditions.com.au
Anmanari Brown, Ngaturn Rockhole, 2010
Tjayanka Woods, The Seven Sisters, 2010
Thomas Reid, Tingarri, 2010