February 2008 DOUBLE TRIUMPH FOR ERNABELLA ARTISTS February 2008 DOUBLE TRIUMPH FOR ERNABELLA ARTISTS Prized batik from Australia’s oldest Indigenous arts centre at Ernabella has been acquired by the National Museums Scotland – just days before our major exhibition of the work officially opened .
The National Museums Scotland, which hosts five museum centres across Scotland, was seeking to develop its collection of contemporary Australian art prior to the opening of a new Australian Gallery at its Edinburgh site in 2012. The Museum bought 16 separate works – including 11 batik wall hangings – created by the internationally renowned women artists of the influential and internationally renowned outback Ernabella Arts Centre. Earlier this month the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of South Australia also purchased a number of works produced by the women which were in a special exhibition, Kiti Art: New Batik from Ernabella Arts to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the arts centre.The sales represented a triumph for the artists and came at a time of renewed international interest in Aboriginal Australia, further fuelled this month by the Federal Government’s historic apology to the Stolen Generations. “Ernabella’s long and successful history is testament to the artists who have continued, through many years of social change, to create exciting art of international quality from their very remote community.The Adelaide exhibition focuses on Ernabella’s unique involvement in batik works, stemming from an unprecedented visit to Indonesia in the 1970s by Ernabella artists which brought together two very different cultures and is regarded as having shifted the course of Australian textile art. All of the artists represented in this showcase Adelaide exhibition – including Tjunkaya Tapaya, Imiyari (Yilpi) Adamson, Tjariya (Nungalka) Stanley, Amanyi (Dora) Haggie, Margaret Dagg – have becoming leading exponents of batik, and are represented in National and International Museum Collections and private collections worldwide. They have each returned to their roots in 2008, to mark the anniversary of Ernabella – one of Australia’s most important indigenous art centres. In 2008 The Arts Centre at Ernabella celebrates its 60th year and Kiti Art is an honouring of the past and recognition that even though art practices are changing the acclaimed batik work of the women of Ernabella is stonger than ever. Kiti Art includes work by several of the most senior and important women artists of Ernbella Arts who are returning to their roots and producing a range of batiks that reflect their love for the artform, their land and their origins as artists. Ernabella Arts is experiencing a time of change – new mediums, new styles, new artists – yet these contemporary, batik works show that the heart and soul of the artists remains the same. Ernabella artists have a tradition of batik practice which has developed and flourished for over 40 years. The batik in this exhibition represents the work of the most senior women artists working at Ernabella today. All of these artists are represented in National and International Museum Collections and private collections worldwide. In 2008 these artists have returned to their roots to produce new batik. The artists included are Tjunkaya Tapaya Imiyari (Yilpi) Adamson, Tjariaya (Nungalka) Stanley, Amanyi (Dora) Haggie, Alison Carroll, and Renita Stanley. Kiti is the adhesive gum made from the resin of spinifex or mulga. Used to plug holes or cracks in bowls etc, and in making weapons, such as spear-throwers and hunting spears. As the melted wax is applied to the fabric, the women are reminded of kiti and the traditional way for Anangu.