“Parrtjima means shedding both light and understanding, but it’s much more. It’s the generosity and spirit of a peoples who have and always will care for country and for the many travellers who visit this timeless land.” Parrtjima Curator Rhoda Roberts AO
A Widjabul Wiyebal woman from the Bundjalung territories, Rhoda Roberts AO is Head of First Nations Programming at Sydney Opera House, Festival Director of the Boomerang Festival, and Curator for Parrtjima – A Festival in Light. She was also Founder and Festival Director of the Dreaming Festivals (1995-2009) and Co-Founder of the Aboriginal National Theatre Trust. As an experienced, motivated and versatile arts executive, Rhoda has a diverse range of international and national experience with commercial, community and non-profit organisations. A practicing weaver, actor, independent producer and director, she continues to work as a consultant across diverse disciplines and is a sought-after speaker and performer in theatre, film, television and radio. The first Aboriginal Australian to host a prime-time current affairs program (Vox Populi on SBS), Rhoda’s Deadly Voices podcasts continue her work in broadcast, including two decades on radio show Deadly Sounds (1992-2012).
Carol Young (Waru Dreaming) comes from a strong Anangu family. Born in Alice Springs in 1972, Carol grew up in Amata and Pipalyatjara in the remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia. She is the niece of cultural leader and artist Stanley Young, and the granddaughter of the late Nyankula Watson, an important Western Desert painter. Nyankula passed down both her ‘tjukurpa’ (traditional stories) and unique art style to Carol, which influences all of her work today. Carol uses dot work, with some sweeping brush strokes, to depict mystical stories of Country.
Daphne Marks (Yalka Tjukurrpa – Bush Onion Dreaming) has been painting for well over a decade and is a member of Ikuntji Artists in Haasts Bluff. Born in 1979 in Alice Springs, Daphne was a young girl when her mother and father passed away. She was raised by her aunt, Sonia Jugadai, and her grandmother Narputta Nangala Jugadai (deceased), Ikuntji Artists’s most senior and internationally recognised painter at the time. Her grandmother passed down the right to Daphne to paint Yalka Tjukurrpa (Bush Onion Dreaming). Married to Francis Marshall Tjapanangka, the couple have three children and one granddaughter. Daphne has an eye for detail and paints meticulous translations of the Tjukurrpa handed down to her by her grandmother, which is about Lake Macdonald in Western Australia.
Francis Marshall (Wanampi Tjukurrpa – Snake Dreaming) was born in 1980 in Alice Springs. His father is Mr Kumuntjai Marshall Tjapangardi (deceased) and his mother is Jeannie Wareenie Ross Nampitjinpa. Francis grew up travelling with his father, and learning stories. Both of his parents painted in Kintore, as part of Papunya Tula Artists. Francis went to Yirara College in Alice Springs where he learnt English. He then moved to Haasts Bluff when he was 20 to marry his wife and fellow artist Daphne Marks. They worked together at Ikuntji Women’s Centre when it first opened in 1992. Francis loves to paint his Wanampi Tjukurrpa – Snake Dreaming story which was given to him by his grandfather and is about his grandfather’s country near Yuendumu. When asked why he paints, Francis said, “My grandfather told me…going and talking country, when the wind blows, I feel that spirit, it makes me happy – that’s why I’m painting on canvas, it makes me happy”.
Jennifer Mintaya Connelly Ward (Kungkarangkalpa – Seven Sisters Story) was born at Mulga Park, north-east of Amata in South Australia. After finishing school in Amata, Jennifer went to college in Alice Springs and then Adelaide. She lived in Papunya during her early twenties, but moved to Patjarr to live with her husband, Kunitja Ward. Alongside family responsibilities, Jennifer works in the remote media industry. She is also a painter and tjanpi (grass) artist. Her art is influenced by her time living in Patjarr, and commonly depicts Kungkarrakalpa Tjukurpa, the Seven Sisters Dreaming story. She has a fluid and organic painting style, and often uses both a brush and ‘punu’ (a small wooden implement) to create the many layers in her work. She also loves to work with many colours, with a natural affinity for beautiful colour combinations that she blends to create depth within her artworks.
Maimie Nginytja Butler (Women Hunting) grew up around Papulankutja (Blackstone) in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, Western Australia. The eldest of seven siblings, she spent much of her childhood with respected elder Kantjupayi Benson learning traditional skills. Maimie’s family are the Mitchells whose country is to the north of Blackstone along the road to Walu Rockhole—a place of significance associated with several Tjukurrpa (Dreamtime stories). Maimie married Mark Butler, from Tjukurla, whom she met at Warburton where she was living at the time. She is a community leader in the Blackstone community and previously the chairperson of Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council. Maimie paints many Tjukurrpa stories including Seven Sisters, Perentie man and the Tjilkamata woman (goanna and echidna) and Wati kutjara (two goanna men). In between painting, passing on women’s cultural songlines and community responsibilities she turns her hand to making Tjanpi (sculptures made from local grasses).
Nora Nyutjangka Davidson (Multju) was born near Mantamaru (Jameson) at a rock hole called Mutjil, 75km west of Papulankutja (Blackstone) in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, Western Australia. Her family later moved to Warburton, where she lived and attended the mission school while her mother and father went hunting. Although Nora now lives with her family at Papulankutja, she is still custodian for her family story of Ilurrpa. She paints the country where she was born and is an experienced Tjanpi weaver. In addition to Tjanpi sculptures and baskets Nora has been involved in making collaborative works. These include Tjanpi Toyota, a giant woven sculpture of a Toyota 4WD, and Kungkarrangkalnga-ya Parrpakanu – Seven Sisters Are Flying, a large installation work based on the Seven Sisters Tjukurpa, produced for the National Gallery of Australia Songlines exhibition in 2015.
Stanley Nyayati Young (Punu Warra) was born in 1949 at a sacred rockhole west of Irrunytju, a small community in Western Australia. He grew up in the bush, travelling with his family around the areas of Irrunytju and Pipalyatjara (South Australia) and living in traditional shelters, ‘wiltjas’. As a young boy he went to school at Ernabella Mission, later returning to Pipalyatjara where he lives with his family today. He shares stories of his many experiences working as a stockman, a Pitjantjatjara language teacher, a geologist for a mining company, and a truck driver. Along with being a celebrated artist and dancer, Stanley is also a respected elder and senior lawman.
Yvonne Ngwarraye Bonney (My Hunting Country) was born in 1974. Her mother Eileen Bonney was one of the first artists in the Ampilatwatja Art movement. Yvonne’s work is very well finished with a style inspired by her mother. She also enjoys painting with her sisters, Denise and Elizabeth, who are talented artists of the community. Yvonne is a tremendous hunter; skilled in reading tracks and the land. Painting hunting country is important and special to her, especially capturing how the land comes alive after rain.
Chantelle Mulladad (Crossroads) is the daughter of Patricia Oliver, one of the founding members of Keringke Art Centre which is based in the community of Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa). As a child, Chantelle spent countless hours watching her mother paint. After finishing high school, Chantelle began working at Keringke Art Centre where she learned from the local artists and created a style of her own. Chantelle’s work is precise and detailed, using pattern, colour, shape and structure to create paintings that depict her sense of Country, culture and self. Her artwork, Crossroads, is about traveling across country on a journey. Sometimes paths cross, and you can keep traveling the path you are on or you can change direction.
Maruku Arts is an Aboriginal-owned social enterprise and non-for-profit artists’ collective based at Uluru. Their charter is to preserve, protect and promote the traditional culture practiced by the Anangu people who live in the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara (NPY) region of Central Australia, and to alleviate poverty through art and cultural education. In operation for 35 years and guided by an Anangu Board, Maruku Arts is known for punu (tradition-based wood carvings), paintings on canvas and jewellery and the unique walka boards featuring designs embossed onto wooden boards with hot wire and then decorated with dot painting.
Aubrey Tjangala (Perentie Dreaming at Kintore) was born at the Pintupi outstation of Yayi Yayi, approximately 30km west of Papunya. Yayi Yayi was a temporary settlement established by the Pintupi people as they began their migration back to their Western Desert homelands from Papunya, where they had earlier been centralised by the government welfare branch. After Kintore was established in the early 1980s, Aubrey lived slightly north-west of the community on his father’s outsation, Ininti, for a while. He went through traditional law in Tjukurla and has since been a permanent resident of Kintore. He is the son of world-renowned painter Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, former Director of Papunya Tula Artists and one of the most important and successful artists in the company’s history. Aubrey’s style closely resembles his father’s, a result of watching and studying him work for more than four decades. After painting his first works for Papunya Tula Artists in 2019, Aubrey has become a regular in the Kintore studio. A traditional owner of the country close by, his paintings refer to the stories central to that area, including the story of the Two Travelling Women, the Perentie Dreaming and the Fire Dreaming at Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay).
Margaret Kemarre (MK) Turner OAM (Keeping the Land Clean) is a respected North Eastern Arrernte (ayerrere ikngerre) Elder, cross-cultural adviser, translator, teacher, social justice champion, artist and author. In 1997, she received the Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of her service to the Aboriginal community of Central Australia, through preserving language and culture, and interpreting. MK has fought for the rights of Aboriginal people for over four decades. She is dedicated to keeping Arrernte culture, life and language rich and strong. Born in the Harts Range region, north-east of Alice Springs, MK went to school in Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa), continuing her education in Darwin and Alice Springs, where she qualified as a language interpreter. She has taught language and culture and a cross-cultural course at the Institute for Aboriginal Development in Alice Springs, and is one of the founders of the Irrkelantye Learning Centre, focusing on intergenerational learning for Arrernte people. MK has been an artist with Irrkerlantye Arts for many years. A director of the Apmeraltye Ingkerreka project, she is a proud mother, grandmother and great-great-grandmother.
Raymond Walters Japananagka (Emu Dreaming) was born in Alice Springs in November 1975. His grandfather’s country is Ngarleyekwerlang, 30km north of Yuendumu and his grandmother’s country is Alhalkerre (boundary bore of Utopia). They are both from the Anmatyerre language group. Amongst his extended family members are speakers of the Arrernte, Western Aranda, Alywarre, Warlpiri and Kaytetye language groups. Through art Raymond shares his people’s culture, which he continues to learn from his grandparents and other family members. He is passionate about contributing to making strong and sustainable change to the lives of his family and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Rita Watson (Tjintitia Tjukurpa) is the daughter of renowned Irrunytju artist, Tjuruparu Watson. Born in 1964 in Warburton, a remote community in Western Australia, Rita spent her younger years with family travelling across the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Lands, mainly between Irrunytju and Amata. Today, she lives in Kalka with her husband. As an artist, Rita is extremely passionate, dedicated, and hard-working. Her art is heavily influenced by her father’s country, Illurpa, from which she paints striking, iconographic designs using a combination of soft, feminine colours with bold graphics. Rita also paints the features of her father’s camp such as tjukula (rockholes), kalyan kalyan (honey grevillea plant), tjanpi (spinifex), kampurarpa (bush tomatoes), anangu (people), punu (trees) and wiltja (windbreaks) in the milpajunanyi (traditional sand drawing) style.
Known to most people as Jungala or “Doona” to family members, Ooldoonda Jungala Kriss (Visit to Country) was born in the bush with traditional midwives attending at Narwietooma Station, about 200km northwest of Alice Springs. He was named Ooldoonda by his mother at his birth, and growing up was taught his stories by Ted Egan Jangala and two Japanangkas who were great visionaries and important leaders in the community. For Jungala, Aboriginal art isn’t just about the painting and colours, it’s also about the heritage and the significance of the landscape to Aboriginal people, family, kinship, language and law. In his paintings Jungala uses the colours of landscape from his grandfather’s country, Yunkuru. Mount Wedge, about 350km northwest of Alice Springs. Educated in Victoria, Jungala owned and operated his own award-winning tourism business in Alice Springs for 20 years.
Nina Fitzgerald is a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writer and creative, who was born and raised in Darwin. As an active participant and observer in the Australian Indigenous arts space her entire life, Nina is passionate about the continued elevation and inclusion of Indigenous arts and culture in the broader Australian narrative. For the past 18 months, she has been working on growing the Indigenous fashion and textiles space, and most recently was Creative Director of the inaugural National Indigenous Fashion Award 2020.
Multi-award winning Electric Fields are known for their immersive performances, bringing moments of breathtaking beauty and power to the stage. Featuring the rare and beautiful voice of Zaachariaha Fielding – who often sings in his traditional languages of the Anangu people – and the brilliance of composer and producer Michael Ross, this co-writing duo have headlined large festivals throughout Australia, Asia, New Zealand, the UK and Europe. Australian shows include Splendour in the Grass, APRA, Apple, Spotify and Vogue’s 60th Anniversary.
DOBBY is a rapper, drummer and music composer. Aged 27, he proudly identifies as a Filipino and Aboriginal musician, whose family is from Brewarrina on Ngemba land, and is a member of the Murrawarri Republic in Weilmoringle, New South Wales. He has performed extensively nationally including BIGSOUND and Sydney Opera House, and internationally in Germany, UK, USA and Netherlands. Dobby recently took out best video for I Can’t Breathe in the 2020 FBi SMAC Awards and was labelled as the 2018 BIGSOUND buzz act with his live show being described as “mind blowing”, “dynamic” and “powerful”. A multi-instrumentalist, DOBBY is increasingly known for bouncing between piano, drums, & drum pads, with his unique signature of rapping and drumming at the same time.
Casey Donovan is one of Australia’s most versatile entertainers. Since winning Australian Idol in 2004 at only 16, she has gained the heart of the Australian public. Over the last 13 years, Casey has made her mark not only as a musician, but also in the areas of stage, screen, presenting and writing. Casey is a multi-award winner and nominee, including an ARIA No #1 Award and Deadly Awards for Best Album, Best Single and Most Promising New Talent. She was also a Sydney Theatre Awards nominee for Best Newcomer and Best Performance by an Actress in a musical. Casey’s EP Off The Grid and Somewhere In Between was released in 2017 with the single Lonely in the iTunes Top 30. Her song Proud won the public vote for Eurovision Australia Decides 2020.
Proud Yanyuwa and Wardaman woman Shellie Morris is a multi-award-winning singer/songwriter, creating music and singing in around 17 Australian Aboriginal languages. While she has been in the spotlight over the years for her involvement with Black Arm Band, ARIA nominations, Music Australia award, NAIDOC Award and the G.R. Burarrawanga Memorial Award, she usually works on the ground empowering and gently effecting change everywhere she goes. Shellie is the 2014 NT Australian of the Year, the 2014 NAIDOC National Artist of the Year, and a multi-award winner at the Deadly Awards. She is also the driving force of the acclaimed album Ngambala Wiji li-Wunungu and the internationally award-winning musical documentary, Prison Songs.
OKA draws upon their connection to culture and the spirit of the land to create a high-energy mashup of dance and downtempo beats and their signature feel-good Australian earth sound. It’s an irresistible blend of influences spanning house, big beat, conscious roots, reggae-dub, jazz and world music with electro digital dub. The OKA collective includes Stu Boga Fergie (aka DidgeriSTU), the big man behind the electronic beats, keys & vocals, the captivating melody of Paul Chenard on sax, flute and woodwinds and Julian Bel-Bachir. Selling over 170,000 albums, they have shared the stage alongside inspirational acts such as George Clinton, Arrested Development, Finley Quaye, Xavier Rudd, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man and rising star Tash Sultana. Expect to be taken on a journey with OKA where time is not linear. It’s music for the soul and the soles of your feet.
From the small Aboriginal community of Woorabinda in Central Queensland, this 21-year-old Pitjantjatjara/Torres Strait Islander woman has been singing for her family and community since the age of eight. Miiesha (My-ee-sha) developed her song writing as a teenager and is now stepping onto a bigger stage to bring her community to the world. Inspired by the sounds of R&B, gospel and soul, and the power of spoken word poetry, this young singer has a voice that showcases vulnerability and strength. Miiesha has supported the likes of Baker Boy, Briggs, Adrian Eagle and Thelma Plum, and was awarded Best Soul/R&B Release at the ARIA Music Awards 2020 for her debut collection of songs, Nyaaringu.
Sydney-based Ziggy Ramo has risen from emerging to established with his insightful, emotional and arresting debut EP Black Thoughts, quickly followed by the powerful single, Black Face. Growing up in remote Arnhem Land with family connections in far north Queensland, Ziggy addresses the silenced injustices of Aboriginal Australia as well as other social issues. He’s the winner of FBi Radio’s SMAC Awards’ 2020 Album of the Year for Black Thoughts and Single of the Year for April 25. Lyrically influenced by artists such as Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Lauryn Hill and Common, along with activists like Charlie Perkins, Gary Foley and Adam Goodes, the 24-year-old finds passion in giving voice to issues affecting those often unheard.
Formed by one-time Sydney Conservatorium of Music students, Mindy and Mitchell Kwanten, and later joined by Jack Hickey, Bow and Arrow is a contemporary First Nations electro-soul trio (Wiradjuri and Gamilaraay). From their debut EP, Return to Me (2012), and the hauntingly romantic debut single Midnight (2015) to appearances on NITV, Sydney Opera House, at Byron Bay Blues Festival, BIGSOUND and a nation-wide tour with The Sapphires, the esoteric multi-instrumentalists live for music. You can expect a big vibe with a mix of modern day and traditional instruments, monster vocals, jungle rhythms with electro beats, funky guitars, weird gadgets, live sampling, looping and a whole lot of heart!
MusicNT’s Divas showcases emerging female artists from Darwin and Alice Springs. The four artists selected to perform – Shana Ray (top left), Cherice Maidment (top right), Patsy Coleman (bottom right), and Lena Kellie (bottom left) – have all participated in MusicNT’s Divas development programs and can’t wait to share their songs at Parrtjima 2021.