Rubuntja is one of the many sewing creatives working at Yarrenyty Arltere Artists. The artist corporation was established as an arts training project 20 years ago in response to chronic social issues faced by the town camp. Now a vibrant and dynamic hub, Yarrenyty Arltere Artists is an important resource for the community and enables economic access for people not previously engaged in the workforce. The art centre is a vehicle for social inclusiveness, sharing culture and celebrating creativity.
Rubuntja was born in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) but grew up at Amoonguna to its east. Her father was the famed artist and activist Wenten Rubuntja, a key figure in the land rights movement in Central Australia. The Rubuntjas, along with the Ebatarinjas and Lynches, were the first to permanently settle in Yarrenyty Arltere town camp.
Rubuntja has been sewing since she was in kindergarten and ‘always has a needle in her hand and wool in her bag’. She is proud to be from Alice Springs and lives behind Mount Gillen, which she says, ‘always calls me – it’s where I belong’.
Karen Napaljarri Barnes - Artist
Location: Warlukurlangu Artists, Yuendumu
Wildly contemporary, Karen Napaljarri Barnes’s paintings represent the next generation of indigenous artists. Napaljarri Barnes is one of Warlukurlangu’s most famed artists; she caught the attention of the art world some years ago when she showcased her depictions of Ngatijirri Jukurrpa (Budgerigar Dreaming) using a naive portrayal of the birds and an abstract representation of the landscape, favouring bold and contrasting colours.
The name of the art centre, Warlukurlangu, means ‘belonging to fire’ in the local Warlpiri language and is named after the Fire Dreaming site west of Yuendumu. Warlukurlangu is one of the longest running and most successful Aboriginal-owned art centres in Central Australia, representing more than 500 artists from the communities of Yuendumu and Nyippiri. It has a national and international profile and its art has been featured in hundreds of exhibitions and publications in Australia and around the world.