Parrtjima Curator & Artists

Parrtjima Curator

“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).

Installation: Grounded

Mary James (Colours of the Desert) was born in 1961 at Warrabri settlement (Ali Curung), and has resided in Kulumindini (Elliott) for the last 21 years. She is Warlpiri and her country is Ngarnalkurru in the Lander River area. Mary started painting in the 1980s while living in Lajamanu. During this time, her paintings were about ngurlu (seeds), wardapi (goanna), wampana (wallaby) and Karlawurru (water goanna) dreamings. Mary is well-travelled and paints with a rich, earthy palette of colours drawn from the varied landscapes she has visited. Part of the Artists of the Barkly collective in Tennant Creek, Mary’s latest series of paintings have reinterpreted, in her own style, the experience of Central Australia and its arid landscape.

Installation: Grounded

June Smith (Pink Sky Sunset) attended school in Alice Springs and later moved to Santa Teresa, now Ltyentye Apurte, where she taught at the school. She was among the women who approached mission staff about a place for women to work on their art. She later worked at Keringke Arts Centre and has been chair there for several terms. As June’s culture has changed with modern life, she has created a language of symbols and motifs that represent her land, her family and herself. Early memories of her grandmother teaching stories through sand drawing and singing are a base from which June’s own expression flows. June’s works are held in many private and public collections, and her designs feature in installations in Alice Springs Town Council gardens and the carpets at Alice Springs Airport.

Installation: Grounded

Corban Clause Williams (Kaalpa (Kalypa), Canning Stock Route Well 23) lives in Parnpajinya (Newman), in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, where he was born. His skin name is Milangka and Kaalpa, and he teaches Cultural Awareness at Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa, a ranger organisation. He also helps the YMCA with youth programs. Representing the new generation of Martumili Artists, Corban showcases a practice informed by tradition, yet imbued with his own unique contemporary vision of Country. He depicts his grandfather’s country of Kaalpa (Well 23 on the Canning Stock Route), where his grandfather collected food and visited rock holes. Corban paints to keep his culture and stories alive, and to share with others. Sometimes he paints with his grandmother, Jakayu [Biljabu].

Installation: Grounded

Cassaria Young Hogan (Ngintaka) was born in Alice Springs. She was raised in the remote community of Kalka and attended school in Pipalyatjara in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY) in South Australia. Hailing from a lineage of renowned painters, including Carol Young and Nyayati Stanley Young, Cassaria is an emerging artist of remarkable note. The young artist’s signature use of negative space evokes a vibrant inner world, where creatures and symbols dance in a hypnotic tango of traditional and contemporary mark making. Cassaria’s bold work is a joyful chronicle of bush trips, digging maku (witchetty grub) and tjala (honey ant), catching ngintaka (big perentie lizard) and making cups of tea, to her grandfather Stanley’s Country, 100km southwest of Pipalyatjara.

Installation: Grounded

Isaac Girrabul (Portrait of a man with bushy hair) is the son of Isobelle Nabarlambarl and Solomon Girrabul. Isaac is an Injalak Hill Tour guide as well as an emerging painter. He regularly represents Injalak Arts and West Arnhem Land on film and TV shows, including Gardening Australia. Isaac has developed an interest for portraiture. He has depicted the face of a bininj (Kunwinjku term for Aboriginal man) with bushy hair. He usually uses rarrk (crosshatching) and different brushstrokes to create the textures in these portraits.

Installation: Water Tree

Karen Napaljarri Barnes (Budgerigar Dreaming 1, 2 & 3) was born in Lajamanu, a remote community on the edge of the Tanami Desert. After finishing school in Lajamanu she moved to Yuendumu to be with family. Karen has been painting with the Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre, since 2001. She is the granddaughter of famous artist Judy Napangardi Watson. Karen paints the dreaming stories handed down to her by her family. These stories come from Mina Mina, country west of Yuendumu, of which her family are the custodians. She also paints Karnta Jukurrpa (Women’s Dreaming), Wakulyarri Jukurrpa (Wallaby Dreaming), Ngarlajiyi Jukurrpa (Bush Carrot Dreaming) and Ngatijirri Jukurrpa (Budgerigar Dreaming).

Aboriginal Artist Karen Barnes

Installation: Flight

Farron Jampitjinpa Furber (Budgerigar Dreaming) is an Eastern Arrernte/Warlpiri artist. Now based in Adelaide, Farron was born in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) in 1992 and his family is from Yuelamu Mt Allan, 290km northwest of Alice. Farron’s grandmother is well-known artist Maureen Hudson Nampitjinpa and his mother, Julieanne Turner Nungarrayi, is also an artist. Farron began developing his artistic vision under their guidance, becoming more confident in his work. His painting depicts Aboriginal iconography recounting the travels of the Budgerigar ancestor as it journeyed along the Warlpiri Country. This is a significant place of deep spiritual meaning to the Warlpiri Aboriginal people in Central Australia.

Installation: Wild Wind

Born in 1961 in Port Augusta, Raelene Ngala Williams (Walpa Pulka – Whirly Wind) grew up in Coober Pedy. Her mother, whose dreaming is the Honey Ant, taught her to paint. When her father passed away, the family brought him home to Utopia. Raelene spent many years living there, and the community taught her their story lines. Now living in Mparntwe (Alice Springs), Raelene takes inspiration for her painting from the colours in everyday life. She has perfected her own style and design, and her unique, detailed and distinctive paintings represent the Ingkwelaye ‘Walpa Pukla’ or whirly winds. Her auntie is Margaret ‘MK’ Turner AO, and she is a member of the Tangentyere Council research team. Raelene has been painting for many years, and her works are displayed in several renowned galleries.

Installation: Energy

Established in 2000, Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists provides a supported studio space for Aboriginal artists living with a disability. The centre also offers access to a national exhibition schedule, design contracts, multimedia collaborations, art fairs and art award opportunities. Artists hail from communities across the Central Desert region, with most residing in Mparntwe (Alice Springs). The studio developed out of Bindi Enterprises, established in 1978 to provide employment and community engagement opportunities to people with a disability. The collective has grown into a distinctive art centre, with artists’ work highly sought after by galleries and private collectors.

Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists

Installation: Eagle's Eye

Jeannie Nungarrayi Egan: 1948-2009 (Rain Dreaming, Budgerigar Dreaming, Bush Tobacco Dreaming (picture), Native Fuchsia Dreaming and Ceremonial Pole Dreaming) was born in Yuendumu. Her dreamings include wanakiji (bush plum), yarumayi (white ochre), miinypa (native fuchsia), janganpa (possum) and parlukurlangu (giant woman). She began to paint for Warlurkurlangu Artists in 1987 and in the same year her bold, distinctive style won the Rothman’s Foundation Award for the best work in introduced media in the National Aboriginal Art Award at the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Her 1987 painting Yarumayi (Goanna) Dreaming was included in Images of Religion in Australian Art in 1988-1989, and Mythscapes: Aboriginal Art of the Desert, both at the National Gallery of Victoria. Her work has featured in major exhibitions overseas.

Installation: Night Sky

Carmen Glynn-Braun (Dreamy) is a Kaytetye, Anmatyerr and Eastern Arrernte cross-disciplinary artist from Mparntwe (Alice Springs). In 2015 she moved to Sydney to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of New South Wales and graduated with first class honours. Carmen is the current recipient of the Emerging Indigenous Artist Fellowship at the Australian Museum and is part of the artist collective, Re-Right, alongside Dennis Golding. Dividing her time between Mparntwe and Sydney, Carmen has developed distinctive, contemporary methods to capture generational storytelling. Her work explores contemporary lived experiences of Aboriginal women, translated through experimental approaches to materials and form. Carmen uses her work as a platform to uplift, empower and ensure First Nations storytelling is preserved for generations to come.

Carmen Glynn-Braun

Installation: Dreamy

Brought to life by First Nations-led not-for-profit Common Ground, alongside partners Snapchat and Ogilvy, Dreamy is a collection of sleep stories that align with the Parrtjima theme, Sky Country. Created by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytellers from across the continent, these contemporary stories bring an ancient oral tradition into the digital space, helping people quiet their mind, drift into a dream and disconnect from their devices by connecting to Country.

Installation: Dreamy

Dakota Feirer (Living Echoes) is a Bundjalung man. His work consists of poems, stories and reflections that engage with Country, culture, spirit and healing. He believes in healing Country through art and storytelling.​

Installation: Dreamy

Dr Romaine Moreton (Moon Holds Water) is Goenpul Yagerabul Minjungbul Bundjalung from Tjerangeri (Stradbroke Island). She is the Director of First Nations & Outreach at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS), and an internationally recognised writer of poetry, prose and film. While a Research Fellow Filmmaker in Residence at Monash University, she completed the powerful transmedia work One Billion Beats, which examined the historical representation of Aboriginal people in Australian cinema.

Installation: Dreamy

Aurora Liddle-Christie (Journey to the Centre) is an Arrernte and Jamaican multidisciplinary artist. Her practice draws on the experiences of People of Colour and First Nations people at the intersecting themes of decolonisation, walking between worlds, healing and reconnection to Country.

Installation: Dreamy

Ghenoa Gela (Stardust and Tagai) is an award-winning, multi-dimensional storyteller and proud Torres Strait Islander woman. Ghenoa’s culture and family stories inspire her to share, whether it’s directing, writing, dancing, performing or teaching.