aboriginal art Aboriginal Art Online
Aboriginal art
Latest Additions
Aboriginal Art and Artists
    Artists Biographies  
    Aboriginal Society  
    Contemporary Art  
    Rock Art  
    Traditional Art  
Aboriginal Culture
Methods and Materials
Art Regions
Resources and Links
Contact Us

Artist BiographiesAmata Men Artists of South Australia


The men Aboriginal artists whose biographies are given on this page are from the Amata community in far northern South Australia on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal Lands. It is approximately 500 km southwest of Alice Springs in the picturesque Musgrave Ranges.

These Amata artists are all represented by paintings in our Web site Paintings Gallery.

Hector Burton

Born c1939 Pipalyatjara way, west of Amata
Language: Pitjantjatjara
Mother's Country Lake Wilson
Father's Country West of Wingellina
Dreaming: Malu - Kangaroo

Hector came into Ernabella out of the desert as a child with his parents. He worked as a 'ringer' or cattleman at the Curtain Springs Station which is approximately 130 km north of Amata. As a young man he met Naomi Kantjuri (also a painter with Minymaku Arts - now Tjala Arts), before moving to Amata to work on the dams out near Wingellina, fencing, and building the cattle yards just outside of Amata where he was the leading hand.

Hector Burton
Hector is an important law and culture Anangu man. He is one of the few remaining elders that still have strong ties to traditional law and culture. This is demonstrated by the images he paints - his Creation story of the Anumara or edible caterpillar.

Hector started painting in October 2003 after the men's painting room was established to encourage the men of Amata to tell their stories on canvas. Hector had never painted using canvas and acrylics before coming to Minymaku Arts. His first exhibition at Alcaston Gallery in 2004 was an instant sell-out.

Solo Exhibitions: Hector Burton Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne 2004

Paddy Kunmanara

Born 1 July 1946
Language: Pitjantjatjara
Birth Place: Mimili
Dreaming: Tjala - Honey Ants

Paddy's birth name is Paddy Pompey. However he changed his name to 'Kunmanara' when his grandfather died when he was very young. Kunmanara is a substitute name used when the name of a person is the same or sounds like the name of a person recently deceased. Cultural law prohibits the speaking of or printing a deceased person's name and image.

Paddy Kunmanara

Paddy came to Amata when he was a young man for business where he met and married Janet Inyika who is also an artist with Minymaku Arts. He worked as a stockman, then trained and worked as a mechanic in Amata. Paddy said he went to Darwin and Adelaide for 'course training' where he learnt to "fix'em car, change tyre, paint'em". Since marrying, he has remained in Amata or 'stopped here' as Paddy says.

Paddy had not painted on canvas before coming to Minymaku Arts. Since the men's painting room was established in late 2003 he has joined the other men and continued to paint consistently. He loves to paint and likes to depict his country and his mother's country around Mimili. Paddy is a quiet, unassuming and gentle man with a considerable emerging talent expressed in his painting.

Themes: His mother's country around Mimili

Solo Exhibitions: Kimberley Australian Aboriginal Art, Melbourne 2004

Tiger Palpatja

Born c1920
Language: Pitjantjatjara
Birthplace: Piltati
Dreaming: Wanampi - Water snake

Tiger grew up and had some schooling in Ernabella (Pukatja) when it was a mission. His main job was shearing the sheep. He was known to be a 'top gun shearer' and even went to Melbourne, probably in the 1960's for the Royal Show. Sometimes he would do fencing and stockyard work.

Tiger Panpatja

Tiger started painting at Minymaku Arts (now Tjala Arts) in September 2004. Before coming to Minymaku Arts, Tiger had never painted in his life. He was better known for his punu (carved wood objects), especially his spears.

He is one of the few remaining Amata elders that have strong ties to traditional culture. This is demonstrated in the images he paints - his Creation Story of the two husband and wives and their connection to the Wanampi and the land.

It took almost two years of coaxing by Sara Twigg-Patterson, the then Arts Coordinator to convince Tiger to start painting. Sara then had to show Tiger how to use a brush with paint onto the canvas. Sara said it was "one of those very rare, but very special moments". Once started, he hasn't stopped!

Themes: His Creation Story of the Wanampi (water snake).

Mick Wikilyiri

Born c1935
Language: Pitjantjatjara
Birthplace: Rocket Bore, near Mulga Park, NT
Dreaming: Tjala - Honey ant

Mick grew up in Amata. He worked as a 'ringer' or stockman at the Curtain Springs Station which is approximately 130km north of Amata.

He said he worked everywhere including Kenmore Park (west of Amata) - when the Anangu Pitjantjatjara / Yankunytjatjara Lands belonged to the cattle stations. Mick said "when finished working he 'stopped' back in Amata.

Mick had never painted using canvas and acrylics before coming to work at Minymaku Arts (now Tjala Arts).

Mick Wikilyiri

Return to Top of Page

Back to Page 2 of Amata artists


Land & Cultures | Regions & Communities
Galleries | Forum | Shop | Services | Home

© Aboriginal Art Online Pty Ltd 2005 (ABN 36 092 463 431) See Terms of Use for details