Ernabella Arts

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Ernabella Arts, founded in 1948, is located in Ernabella (Pukatja) and was originally a mission station. It is Australia’s oldest indigenous art centre.

Ernabella Arts was famous early on for the distinctive swirling patterns derived from milpatjunanyi (a traditional sand drawing storytelling technique) that became known as Ernabella Walka. These rhytmic designs adorned woven floor rugs, then cotton silk screen prints and silk batik. Nowadays they are used in acrylic paintings and ceramic designs.

The art world became aware of Ernabella in the Eastern APY Lands when Dickie Minyintiri won the prestigious Telstra Award in 2011 at an estimated age of 96.

Alongside Dickie’s gentle dance-like works and Pantjiti Lionel’s lyrical depictions, the monochrome paintings of Pepai Carroll, Yurpiya Lionel and Carlene Thompson are especially fascinating. But also works by Tjunkaya Tapaya (Finalist Togart Art Award 2011–2013), Alison Riley (People´s Choice Award Telstra 2011), Tjariya Stanley and Niningka Lewis are immediately recognizable.

Photos (f.l.t.r.): Pantjiti Lionel | Photo: Alex Craig © Ernabella Arts Pantjiti Lionel, Tjariya Stanley and Niningka Lewis (from left to right) | Photo: Alex Craig © Ernabella Arts Dickie Minyintiri | Foto Alex Craig © Ernabella Arts