Artists of Ampilatwatja [pronounced Um-bludder-watch] is an Indigenous owned and operated art centre in the community of Ampilatwatja approximately 300 kilometres northeast of Alice Springs in Central Australia. It is the agent for the artists featured in this collection. Ampilatwatja is home to the Alyawarr people, whose language is also Alyawarr. The area has a long and chequered pastoral history, and the Alyawarr people use their distinctive art to express their connection to, and traditional knowledge of, their ancestral lands. Art centres are central to art production in remote Indigenous communities across Australia. They are also vital to social, cultural and economic wellbeing, with art sales providing the only source of income for many communities. 

An agreement with the art centre ensures the artists represented are fairly remunerated for the use of their designs. Willie Weston would like to acknowledge the support of Artists of Ampilatwatja who have shown great faith in the development of this collection.

Colleen Ngwarraye Morton's Singing Bush Medicine in 'Day Break' [wall] and 'Dusk' [floor, right] and Rosie Ngwarraye Morton's Sugarbag Dreaming in 'Desert Rose' [floor, left].

Colleen Ngwarraye Morton's Singing Bush Medicine in 'Day Break' [wall] and 'Dusk' [floor, right] and Rosie Ngwarraye Morton's Sugarbag Dreaming in 'Desert Rose' [floor, left].

AMPILATWATJA COLLECTION ARTISTS

C O L L E E N   N G W A R R A Y E   M O R T O N

Colleen Ngwarraye Morton was born in 1957 into the Ngwarraye skin group. She paints Arreth, which translates to ‘strong bush medicine’, paying homage to the significance and use of traditional bush medicine in her community. Morton’s paintings often depict her grandfather’s country where her family have hunted for many years and where her mother and grandmother taught her the importance of seasonal bush medicines and plants that grew there. Morton was one of the original artists in the batik movement that emerged in Utopia, Central Australia, in the 1980s. She has continued to develop a successful painting career both nationally and internationally, recently exhibiting at the Florence Biennale, Italy (2015), Galerie ArtKelch, Germany (2015), Redot Gallery, Singapore (2012) and Batiks of the Desert, National Gallery of Victoria (2008). 

Colleen Ngwarraye Morton’s design for our Ampilatwatja Collection is called Singing Bush Medicine and represents a ceremony performed by women to celebrate bush medicine through dancing, singing and painting the body in ochre. This design is about singing to country, singing the bush medicine and edible seeds into existence, and sourcing and maintaining them.

R O S I E   N G W A R R A Y E   R O S S

Rosie Ngwarraye Ross was born in 1951 near Amaroo Station, in Alyawarr country, NT. Her skin group is Ngwarraye. In her paintings Ross depicts the bush medicine and wild flowers from around her country. She has a bold expressive style and, like many artists from Ampilatwatja, often omits the sky from her compositions, combining both aerial and frontal views. Ross has exhibited around Australia and internationally, including as part of Fragrant Lands: Exhibition of Australian and Chinese Indigenous Art, Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute – touring to Shanghai, China (2014), at Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne (2014) and at Booker-Lowe Gallery, Texas, USA (2015).

Rosie Ngwarraye Ross’ design for our Ampilatwatja Collection is called Sugarbag Dreaming. Sugarbag is a name used for both the honey made by native bees and also for the sweet nectar that comes from the big yellow flowers of the ‘tarrkarr’ trees. Ross and her family often gather sugarbag out in the sandy country around Ampilatwatja.