Aboriginal artist Wawiriya Burton, now ninety five years old, says it all in her paintings, several with a similar title, “Ngayuku Ngura (My Country)” and three featured below. Wawiriya Burton is a senior woman from the Amata community in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands in South Australia.
In mountains of colour, Wawiriya depicts tales of her country, family and animals, with different symbols, colours and designs that represent variations in the landscape. Wawiriya is a traditional healer. In 2017, Wawiriya said:
“A long time ago, when we were little children, we ran around Puta Puta and Ilitjata, our grandfather’s and father’s ground, and because of this we grew up strong. Why? Because it’s Anangu country – Aboriginal people’s country – of their spirit.”
Recently in Australia, happening annually from 27 May to 3 June, was National Reconciliation Week. The week is a focused time for all Australians to learn about their shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each citizen can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. For our second Online Exhibition with the Museo Sa Bassa Blanca (MSBB) – a private location on Mallorca with an educative engagement – we decided to give specific focus to the artworks made by Aboriginal artists in the collection. The foundation at large, amongst contemporary art and curiosities for children, includes a whole grouping of artworks from Indigenous artists from Australia, Morocco, Africa and other locations.
Collectors Ben & Yannick Jakober shared with us:
“We were drawn to Aboriginal art by two different paths. The first was our friendship with Arnaud Serval who over the years has become an expert in the field and who has at certain times been assisted in the field by our son Reza who loaned us two pictures by Clifford Possum (pictured below) that became the first to be exhibited at MSBB. The second factor is that certain paintings in our important collection of artists from Essaouira have an uncanny dialogue with their Indigenous counterparts.
Seeing ever more reproductions and following the work that the Fondation Opale are doing at Lens, we felt that it was important for us to have a broader representation, resulting in the images presented here.
The sincerity and real connection to their lands, origins, beliefs and vivid imagination of this group of artists touches a raw nerve of our concept of art. We cannot but say how much our whole being vibrates when we look at these pictures.”
For a general overview of the MSBB, see inside this feature.