Aboriginal art brings family together


Renowned Northern Territory artists Jeannie, Anna and Rosemary Pitjara gathered in Tallarook on Friday to work on a collobrative artwork with their family members.

The unique collection of Aboriginal art will be exhibited at Michelton Gallery, Nagambie.

The trio were joined by their granddaughters and nieces, visiting from Healesville’s Worara Aboriginal College, to paint together ahead of the exhibition opening on Saturday.

Michelton Gallery of Aboriginal Art curator Adam Knight said the two pieces painted together would be donated to the college.

“These girls have been fortunate enough to spend the day with their family and we’re working on two collaborative works,” he said.

Artists from Utopia in Northern Territory gathered in Tallarook on Friday to work on a collaborative artwork with their family members, visiting from Healesville’s Worara Aboriginal College. An exhibition featuring artwork by Jeannie, Anna and Rosemary Pitjara opened at Michelton Gallery, Nagambie, on Saturday.

The three women, from Utopia, Northern Territory, 300 kilometres north east of Alice Springs, have spent the past two months hosting a workshop at Mr Knight’s studio in Tallarook.

Mr Knight said all three women painted in three different styles that made for collectable pieces, which sold at galleries across Australia.

“Jeannie Pitjara essentially invented that bush leaves style of painting that’s very famous in Aboriginal Australia, there are thousands of women who paint that style,” he said.

“Anna Pitjara has a black and white style that’s riverbeds and sandhills, which is an especially popular and collectable style of artwork while Rosemary Pitjara has a slight variation on Jeannie’s work, the bush medicine.”

Mr Knight said Aboriginal people painting together was important to passing knowledge between generations.

Jeannie Pitjara painting one of the pieces that were donated to the Worawa Aboriginal College in Healesville.

“The act of painting together is something that’s exceptionally important because while they’re painting, the girls have been singing, telling stories, talking about their country,” he said.

“That’s something that’s happened in Aboriginal culture for thousands of years but, because of western culture and technology, there’s not as much opportunity as there used to be. This is a wonderful way for them to talk about country and culture with each other and pass on knowledge.”