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Mpwetyerre/Abbott's Town Camp painting series, 2019

Wall text

Wall text

Sally M. Nangala Mulda
Born 1957, Titjikala region, NT. Arrernte/Southern Luritja.

Lives and works in Mparntwe/Alice Springs, NT.

Pronouns: she/her.

 

"They Going to Piggly Wiggly For Shopping" 2019 

synthetic polymer paint on linen

 

Collection of The University of Queensland, purchased 2019.

 

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"Magpie and Eagle, Footy at Traeger Park" 2019 


synthetic polymer paint on linen

Collection of The University of Queensland, purchased 2019. 

 

"Sally Feeding Little Cat and Mother Cat" 2019 

synthetic polymer paint on linen

Collection of The University of Queensland, purchased 2019. 

 

"Two Police Toyota, Policeman Live Him Sleeping" 2019

synthetic polymer paint on linen

Collection of The University of Queensland, purchased 2019. 

 

Sally M. Nangala Mulda’s diaristic paintings depict the artist’s day-to-day life in Mpwetyerre/Abbott’s Town Camp, a small community near Mparntwe/Alice Springs. In each illustration, Mulda narrates her reality in an unflinchingly honest visual style, exposing the complexities of life faced in central Australian communities following the Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act, that was in effect from 2007 to 2022. 

Under the Act, welfare payments were cut, jobs were terminated, alcohol was heavily restricted, land was taken, and constant police surveillance became the norm. This intervention was implemented in lieu of any consultation with the communities whom it affected, and Mulda’s home was in one of many Indigenous Australian communities who were targeted. 

The effects of these restricted living conditions and the hardships that her community faces daily are documented by Mulda in a figurative style. Uplifting scenes of peace and communal joy — such as Sally Feeding Little Cat and Mother Cat and Magpie and Eagle, Footy at Traeger Park — reflect a sense of togetherness and belonging. These are hung alongside scenes of housing insecurities, domestic violence, police brutality, and surveillance, as evident in Policeman Taking Man to Big Jail and Two Police Toyota, Policeman Live Him Sleeping. 

 

Each moment of life, as experienced by Mulda, is rendered in thick, playful colours with swirling, descriptive text painted across each canvas’s surface. These bright hues work in tension with the seriousness that permeates Mulda’s paintings, as does the artist’s matter-of-fact descriptions. Every instance of happiness and challenge occurs within a distinctive landscape, which is held at a distance from the audience. Through her paintings, Mulda generously offers us a glimpse of her community—a place of both injustice and hope. 
 

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