Artists working with Ninuku Arts come from Kalka and
Pipalyatjara communities in the western part of the "APY
Lands" in the far north of South Australia. The descriptions
below of the communities follow closely the text from the
APY Lands Website.
These two communities, fourteen kilometres apart, are surrounded by the Tomkinson Ranges and are part of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, to which freehold title was granted in 1981.
Kalka and Pipalyatjara each have populations of around 100-150 Anangu (‘people’ in Pitjantjatjara) and are serviced by a school, TAFE, clinic and the Ninuku Arts. The language of this part of the Lands is Pitjantjatjara. ‘Ninu’ is the bilby, an important part of the area’s Tjukurpa (dreaming).
Kalka Community is located in the far Northwest
of South Australia, just a few kilometres from where Western
Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory meet. It
is approximately 490 kms from Alice Springs and is the largest
community west of Amata in the APY Lands.
Kalka is the administrative and residential centre for Pitjantjatjara
Homelands Council (PHC), an incorporated Aboriginal organisation.
PHC grew out of the Aboriginal homelands movement of the 1970s
when Anangu left the missions and government settlements to
the east and west and returned to their traditional country.
Many Anangu had been brought into or were attracted into these
settlements during the 1950s and 1960s when the Australian
Government ran atomic bomb and rocket tests at Woomera and
Kalka was originally planned as a resource centre for surrounding
homelands but by the early 1990s it had developed into a small
Aboriginal community with the full range of housing, infrastructure
and service needs.
The population of Kalka is around 150 Anangu fluctuating
up to 200 depending on season and circumstances. The homeland
areas, covering approximately 4,000 square kilometres, continue
to be of central importance culturally as well as being a
resource for tourism, mining and other development.
On the road between Kalka and Amata
Pipalyatjara is a small Anangu community
located 15 kms south of Kalka. A local store provides for
Pipalyatjara and Kalka communities. Pipalyatjara was formerly known as Mount Davies after the highest local peak. The semi-precious stone Chrysoprase was mined at Pipalyatjara until recently. The town's population is approximately 140-150 people.
In 1971 a small group of people moved 190kms west of Amata (a large established settlement) to a place called Puta Puta, 24kms to the east of what was to become Pipalyatjara. The group was made up of a number of old men who had traditional ties to the area and responsibilities for various totemic sites. By 1975 there were 33 people at the Pipalyatjara Camp. This movement of the Anangu west, into their homelands, was one of the first movements of people out of the church and government settlements back into the country of their grandparents.