MAY 2024 EXHIBITION / Yara Kutjupa (A different way)

Since 2020 the artists of Tjarlirli and Kaltukatjara have been exploring silk painting. Building upon their well established skills and experience with acrylic painting on canvas. This exploration of silk painting has unlocked new possibilities in the expression of stories and culture while retaining recognizable elements of the Western Desert art movement, in particular the striking, playful use of vibrant colours.

A key element in these works are the embodiment of the concept of ‘aliveness’ in Ngaanyatjarra culture. This aliveness exists within self, other, country and in the spaces between. Throughout the silk painting process, there is an inherent intimacy embedded into the works. Mark making with the dye is a liquid flow; allowing for a fluidity and freedom that is difficult to achieve in other mediums. The silk itself brings tactile and sensuous qualities being soft, supple, light and airy. When displayed or worn, it dynamically responds to the environment around it - reacting to air or movement around it - rippling, swaying, dancing.

These silks encapsulate something deeply personal, connected, and alive that speaks to the layers of the desert experience and culture. They reflect an attunement to the subtle and sensorial awareness in connection to country and community. An embracing of the joy and play through the use of colours. A coolness in the heat. They offer and evoke sensations of aliveness through various sensory aspects. The expansion into wearable embodiments of culture, carries this ‘aliveness’ further - expressions that can move around in the world, transcending the confines of traditional art spaces.

- text by Kate McGrath