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Series by Vanessa and Kathleen France Inkamala and Gloria Napurrurla Pannka, 2018-19

Wall text

Wall text

Vanessa Inkamala 

Born 1968, Ntaria/Hermannsburg, NT. Arrernte.

Lives and works in Mparntwe/Alice Springs, NT.

Pronouns: she/her.

 

"MY COUNTRY IS STILL ALIVE!" 2018-19

acrylic and marker pen on nylon stripe bag

 

Collection of The University of Queensland, purchased 2020.

Kathleen France Inkamala 
Born 1968, Ntaria/Hermannsburg, NT. Arrernte.

Lives and works in Mparntwe/Alice Springs, NT. 
Pronouns: she/her 

 

"POLICE MOVE US ON FROM RIVER BED" 2018–19

 

acrylic and marker pen on nylon stripe bag

 

Collection of The University of Queensland, purchased 2020.
 

Gloria Napurrurla Pannka 
Born 1953, Ntaria/Hermannsburg, NT. Arrernte/Luritja. Died 2020, Thakaperte Outstation, NT.
Pronouns: she/her

"People from community come To Town for Family whos sick IN Hospital or Jail + They cant stay with family living in NT housing so they become HOMELES"  2018–19

 

acrylic and marker pen on nylon stripe bag

 

Collection of The University of Queensland, purchased 2020.
 

These painted bags belong to a larger series commissioned for NIRIN, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney. The series, which involved 14 artists from Iltja Ntjarra/Many Hands Art Centre, was created with the collective aim to spread awareness of the dire housing difficulties faced by many Indigenous Australians living in the Northern Territory.

 

The nylon dollar-shop bags, used as a ‘canvas’ for each work, are symbols of lives lived in constant states of housing insecurity. In their regular usage, these bags act as makeshift containers of each carrier’s worldly possessions as they are forced to move from place to place. On each plastic surface, artists paint idyllic landscapes of Country, creating a distinct tension between the images of natural beauty and the synthetic material they are applied to. 

The painted landscapes reference the artistic style and life of Arrernte artist Albert Namatjira (1902–1959), ensuring his distinct watercolour practice and lived history are commemorated. Namatjira and his wife Ilkalita were the first Aboriginal Australians to gain full Australian citizenship in 1957, 10 years before the 1967 Referendum that granted similar rights to the rest of the Aboriginal population in Australia. For each artist who participated in this series, a sense of community and identity became solidified through this remembrance of Namatjira’s legacy. The landscapes depicted are embedded with culture, history, people, and stories. 

Bold black text accompanies these landscapes, painted on the opposite side of each bag—statements that encapsulate the frustration, anger, and grief that so many Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory experience daily. The bags essentially become placards—carried symbols of active protest against the injustices suffered by their makers. 
 

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