In the small community of Peppimentarti in the north-western corner of Australia, Regina Pilawuk Wilson is the matriarch. She founded this settlement in 1973 with her late husband, Harry Wilson, the leader of a group of Ngan’gikurrungurr people who left a Catholic mission and went searching for a place to live on their
The women of Peppimenarti have always been weavers but Wilson was inspired to take up painting after a trip to Noumea for a Pacific Arts Festival in 2000. She would find her subject matter in the sun mats, message sticks and fish traps that were already being made in the community. To the untutored eye her dense meshes of closely-packed, overlapping lines might look entirely abstract but Wilson always has a particular object in mind. On canvas the woven forms take on a cosmic dimension, with thousands of rippling lines radiating from a central core, or spreading across as a surface as a mass of broken rhythmns.
Now regarded as one of Australia’s leading indigenous artists, Wilson has won the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, and had work exhibited in the United States and Europe, most recently at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. It’s a little surprising to find that Wilson’s biggest sale to date is only $40,000, but with growing international interest that record looks decidely shaky.
– JOHN MCDONALD, ART CRITIC FOR THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, September 2019.