Warlukurlangu Artists, NT

Established in 1985, Warlukurlangu Artists is one of the longest running Aboriginal-owned art centres in Central Australia and is based in the community of Yuendumu (located 290 km northwest from Alice Springs on the Tanami Road).

Representing its artists from the desert communities of Yuendumu, Nyirripi and Yuelumu in Central Australia, Warlukurlangu Artists is famous for its gloriously colourful acrylic paintings and limited edition prints. It has a national and international profile and its art has been featured in exhibitions and publications in Australia and around the world.

Warlukurlangu means ‘belonging to fire’ in the local language, Warlpiri, and is named after a fire dreaming site west of Yuendumu.

Warlukurlangu Artists aims to share Warlpiri culture and to increase awareness about Aboriginal culture. 

The cooperative holds a unique place in contemporary Aboriginal art. Collectively, the works have a highly characteristic style and colour palette that sets them apart from all other desert painting. One of the distinctive features of the work is that the iconography (ordered as stories, dreamings or jukurrpa) remain detailed and strongly defined.

In other desert communities the art has become increasingly simplified and minimal, but at Yuendumu the works are rich with the symbols that convey the law and mythology of the people. One of the reasons is that ritual design (kurruwarri) forms the basis of the work and the rules that govern its expression are strictly adhered to at Yuendumu.The law and culture being depicted in the paintings therefore remains strong and true to its source. The name Warlukurlangu comes from an important local dreaming meaning ‘place of fire’.

True to its name, Warlukurlangu has become known for its vibrant palette which in recent years has encompassed an extraordinary range of colours - from hot fuchsia, mauve and electric blue to marigold yellow and tangerine orange.

There is a stylistic similarity between many of the artists’ works, but there are also artists whose work is highly individual, such as Judy Napangardi Watson, Jack Jakamarra Ross, Polly Napangardi Watson, Clarise Nampijinpa Poulson, Paddy Japaljarri Sims and Paddy Japaljarri Stewart.[2]


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