Artworks from Alice Springs Town Camps.

Short St Gallery presents, ‘We Belong To This Country, We Look After this Country’ featuring paintings and sculptures from Tangentyere & Yarrenyty. Tangentyere and Yarrenyty art centres serve the artists and communities living in the town camps of Alice Springs, central Australia. The mostly female artists have a distinct and unique style, often using figurative representation to comment on life and land in the town camps and surrounding areas. Their artwork explores a sense of place, representing everything from outstations, to places they grew up; places they holiday in and the town camps they live in. This singular aesthetic has developed in response to the complexities of life in Alice Springs intertwined with the humour and mirth that peppers the artist’s everyday conversations. As they paint the artists talk about the happenings and dramas around them embedding their paintings with these feelings and discussions as they go. Artists such as Sally Mulda and Joanne Wheeler add text to their work to increase the narrative for the viewer. Colour is also used to give the artworks a sense of joy, hope or humour while also commenting on justice, equality and personal values. The resulting artworks are honest depictions of life in the town camps.

Sculpture is another defining element amongst the town camp artists. The craftsmanship and clever use of colour and form in the soft sculptures produced by the artists, maintains the aesthetic that has sprung from the diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds within the town camps. The idiosyncratic shapes and stories these sculptures have, give voice to the unique inhabitants of the community, whether animal or human; and continue to portray the artists strong acknowledgement of culture and country. Each artist in the exhibition holds an individual cultural narrative that informs their artwork, telling stories of the here and now, or time spent with family, of visiting other places and events witnessed. The artists voices are loud and clear as they say, ‘We Belong to this Country, We Look after this Country’, the title they have given this exhibition.

VR Niti Sejpal