A new exhibition uniting artists from two Pilbara Aboriginal art centres celebrates the sharing of knowledge between senior pujiman artists and younger practitioners. Pujiman, which means bush or desert born and dwelling, is the creative culmination of a two year collaboration between Spinifex Hill Artists and Martumili Artists and includes work from more than twenty artists from both art centres in the mediums of animation, filmmaking, photography, drawing and acrylic painting.
Made possible with the support of our Principal Partner BHP Billiton, Pujiman is part of a larger project which aims to engage and empower young people in Newman, Port Hedland and eastern Pilbara communities through art making; learning from senior artists and community members to further develop their artistic practice. With support from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and the Pilbara Development Commission the project delivered creative development workshops in portraiture and sand (stop-motion) animation.
The project also entailed a significant, week long artist camp at Punmu community, situated in the heart of Martu Country, on the edge of the Great Sandy and Gibson deserts in 2017. Artist and cultural advisor for Martumili Artists Nola Ngalangka Taylor highlighted the significance of creating opportunities to bring older and younger generations together. “Pujiman days are almost gone, but to keep it up you need to be sharing. There’s so much lost, but we need to keep sharing to keep it alive,” Ms Taylor said.
Emerging Martu artist Cyril Whyoulter shared his thoughts while on the Punmu artist camp. “Anybody can come and paint in Martumili, this for all of us, anybody can paint. Young artists will learn how it was in the pujiman days when they paint. They will learn about the country. We must learn, you know, from the old people, so we can hold onto our stories. Here they are teaching us young ones,” he said.
The resulting exhibition celebrates the work and knowledge of senior pujiman artists, and introduces a new generation of emerging artists, informed and inspired by their predecessors. This unique collaboration between the art centres helps to strengthen the reputation of the Pilbara as a powerful cultural and artistic region.
Curated by the artists with the assistance of Amy Mukherjee, Gallery Coordinator at Martumili Artists, and Greg Taylor, Studio Manager at Spinifex Hill Studios, Pujiman has solidified the collaborative relationship between the two Pilbara Aboriginal art centres, and informs an ongoing partnership focused on the shared vision of the organisations, and the united community of artists.
“This has been a stellar project for both art centres and every day we are privileged to work with the communities to keep cultures strong,” said Mr Taylor and Ms Mukherjee in a joint statement.
“The relationship between our art centres is one of healthy cooperation and our ongoing partnership has been solidified by this project. The artists bring us together and feel empowered to move freely between our art centres with the confidence that we have a shared vision and support their practices. We’re committed to working together to continue building the reputation of the Pilbara as a powerful cultural and artistic region.”
Pujiman will open at the Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery at 6pm on Friday February 16 will run until Saturday April 28 before touring Western Australian throughout 2018/9. The exhibition will be opened by Hon. Alannah MacTiernan MLC, Minister for Regional Development, and Casey Fimmel, BHP Manager Port Maintenance. The Pilbara Development Commission’s Director of People, Place, and Community, Trish Barron will be the master of ceremonies for the evening. Artists from both art centres and remote communities of the Eastern Pilbara will converge on Port Hedland’s West End for the opening.
Martumili Artists represented in Pujiman include Yunkurra Billy Atkins, Jakayu Biljabu, Nora Nungabar, Nancy Karnu Taylor, Wokka Taylor, Alysha Taylor, Muuki Taylor, Nora Wompi, Bugai Whyoulter, and Corbyn Williams. Spinifex Hill Artists represented include Kelvin Allen, Owen Biljabu, Ashtonia Burton, Victor Burton, Layne Dhu-Dickie, Crystal Gardiner, Delroy Gardiner, Nyaparu (William) Gardiner, Zenith Gardiner, Maggie Green, Nyakulya Katie Nalgood and Winnie Sampi. Artists represented who paint with both art centres include Doreen Chapman, Maywokka May Chapman, Nyanjapalyi Nancy Chapman, Thelma Judson, Minyawe Miller, Wendy Nanji and Yanjimi Peter Rowlands. The exhibition also showcases a project film documenting the creative process.
For images, interviews and additional information please contact:
Gallery Coordinator, Martumili Artists:
Studio Manager, Spinifex Hill Studios: