“Our collaborative paintings are about the country around Indulkana Community on the APY Lands in north-west SA. This is our home, there is a lot of important family history here for us, and this country holds a lot of important Tjukurpa (cultural history) for us Yankunytjatjara people too.
Iwantja is the name of a creek where the Indulkana Community was established, the creek runs from high up in the rocky ridge all the way down to the community. There’s a tjukitji (soakage) there and different tjukula (rock-holes) too – these were really important water sources for Anangu before there were bores or water tanks. There’s also a very special site, a specific tree that holds the Tjurki (native owl) Tjukurpa. Our paintings include all these sites, and our colours and marks reflect the way the landscape changes from the rocky ridge to the sandy creek beds.
Sharing the process of painting with my daughter Raylene is really special. As we work I share stories with her about what it was like here when I was growing up, how it has changed over the years. When I was younger, the older ladies here taught me all about the important cultural stories and I love sharing these with my daughter through our paintings. When we’re painting we start out with a bit of a plan, but we’re also responding to what each other is doing, which makes it fun and exciting to work together. Sometimes I look over at what Raylene’s doing and think ‘Gee that’s nice, I wouldn’t have thought of doing it like that!’ I’m proud to be sharing culture and connection to country with my daughter. We love making these beautiful big paintings together, we’re showing the next generations how special this place is.”
Image: Betty Chimney and Raylene Walatinna painting Nganampa Ngura (Our Country) in the Iwantja Arts studio, 2019. Photograph: Heath Aarons