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Artist BiographiesAmata Artists of northern South Australia

Gwion


The artists whose biographies are given on this page are from the Amata community, working with their community art centre Tjala Arts. The community is located 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.

Much of the imagery in Amata paintings is based on the designs first used by artists in their 'punu' or wood carvings. The punu, decorated with linear burn marks in repetitive curves, continue to be produced by the Amata people.

Queenie Adamson

Born: c1942 (deceased 2003)
Language: Pitjantjatjara
Birthplace: Ernabella, South Australia

Queenie Adamson began painting for Minymaku Arts in mid 2002. Already an excellent hunter, basket maker and wood carver, Queenie took to painting with remarkable ease. Her knowledge of the Tjukurrpa (stories) of the area was prolific and even though she was in her early sixties when she started painting she was considered an emerging artist.

Her career as a professional painter was brief, but in this short time Queenie’s individual style progressed quickly. Just before she died her contemporary images were beginning to receive considerable attention from galleries and private buyers alike. She was a highly respected elder and painter.

Exhibitions
Kapi Wala Nganampa - Our water holes, On Shore Art, Newtown, Geelong, June 2003
Nganampa Tjukula - Our rock holes, Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra, March 2003
Desert Mob, Araluen Galleries, Alice Springs, 2002

Awards
Tandanya/Arts SA Aboriginal Artists’ Fellowship Award, December 2002

Mandy Adamson

Born: 1960
Language Pitjantjatjara
Birthplace: Ernabella, South Australia

Mandy has only been painting at Minymaku Arts since late 2002. She is a young and emerging artist who demonstrates great skill.

Her mother was Queenie Adamson, a highly respected elder and painter (see previous entry).

Mandy Adamson

Katanari Tjilya Burton

Born c1939
Location: Amata
Language: Pitjantjatjara,Yankunytjatjara

Katanari is from Tjurma Homelands and paints with Tjurma Arts and Crafts centre as well as the women at Minymaku Arts. She has been a practicing artist for many years and is always experimenting with ideas and traditional stories from her dreamtime.

Katanari Tjilya Burton

She has been working on a series of abstract images since the start of 2003 which are a departure from her more decorative style. These are based on the shape of the wira (small bowl) to produce a design or walka (concentric circles). Anangu Pitjantjatjara people traditionally burnt this design onto punu or wood carvings. The wira, a small cup-like digging bowl, was used by the women to dig for water or bush tucker.

Exhibitions:

Mina Wala - fresh, like water from a spring, Araluen Galleries, Alice Springs, December 2002
Irititja Munu Kuwaritja Tjukurpa (Stories from the past and present) Tandanya, Adelaide, June 2000
Beyond Batik - a joint exhibition

Paniny Mick

Born c1939
Language: Pitjantjatjara
Birthplace: Rocket Bore, near Mulga Park, NT
Dreaming: Malu - kangaroo

Paniny is a respected senior Amata woman who paints for Minymaku Arts. She came to Amata from Rock Bore (in the Northern Territory) when she was a young girl with her parents, her elder brother Marla, and sisters Yariyji and Maringa.

Paniny Mick

Paniny has worked as a teacher’s aid with the pre-school children and as a representative on the Women’s Council. Paniny started her artistic career around five years ago creating batik at the Tjurma Arts and Crafts Centre, and then took up painting when Minymaku Arts was established in late 1999. Since then Paniny has become one of the centre's most highly regarded artists.

Exhibitions
Nganampa Tjukula - Our rock holes, Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra, March 2003
Mina Wala- fresh, like water from a spring, Araluen Galleries, Alice Springs, December 2002
Desert Mob, Araluen Galleries, Alice Springs, September 2002

Awards
Tandanya/Arts SA Aboriginal Artists’ Fellowship Award, December 2002

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Go to Page 2 of Amata biographies

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