Stories in paint and stone
To leaf through the pages of Kunmanara Jangala Carroll Ngaylu nyanganyi ngura winki I can see all those places is to be taken on a journey through the art and life of a master storyteller.
The late Luritja, Pintupi and Pitjantjatjara man Kunmanara Jangala Carroll worked out of Ernabella Arts in Pukatja Community, on the edge of the Musgrave Ranges in South Australia, on APY lands.
A true celebration of his knowledge and artistry, this elegant hardcover catalogue and exhibition of the same name is the first in South Australian-based arts organisation JamFactory’s Icon series.
Kunmanara’s stoneware is exquisite, ochres, blues, creams and chocolates working together with the sensitively-incised contours of the objects to modulate our perception. And this just from the photographs. One longs to walk around them. To run your fingers over their surfaces.
His acrylics on canvas instantiate form and content (Country and story) through subtly different modes of tones and markmaking. Strokes and dots are calligraphic, alive. Hues are muted yet sonorous.
These images — as plentiful as they are beautiful — are enriched by essays and archival and more recent photographs of Kunmanara in his studio, on Country or with family or friends. Rhett Hammerton’s portraits are particularly fine. The making of a tapestry, a “translation” of Kunmanara’s painting Ilpili by members of the Melbourne-based Australian tapestry Workshop, is also fully documented in words and pictures.
As Yorta Yorta curator Belinda Briggs writes:
“Kunmanara’s practice spans a mere 10 years but held in the body of the clay vessels and seemingly suspended among the mark makings rhythmically and purposefully rendered across the canvas are stories older than life itself. His paintings and ceramics evince a masterful relationship between mind, spirit, heart and hands. There in the cultural sanctuary of the country’s longest running art centre, he sustains a continuum of the practice of the passing on of knowledge and his love of Country through paint and clay.”
NB Kunmanara passed after the publication of this book and the first part of his name changed according to custom. Hence the different name “Pepai” used on the book’s cover and throughout.
Kunmanara Jangala Carroll Ngaylu nyanganyi ngura winki I can see all those places by Belinda Briggs, Alison Milyika Carroll & Luke Scholes is published by Wakefied Press/JamFactory ($59.95)
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