Nganampa Kililpil: Our Stars


Nganampa Kililpil: Our Stars is the first major survey exhibition of works from seven arts centres in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunyjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia.

Held at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, Nganampa Kililpil will showcase 50 works by 50 artists from Tjala Arts at Amata; Ernabella Arts at Pukatja; Mimili Maku Arts at Mimili; Tjungu Palya at Nyapari; Ninuku Arts at Kalka; Kaltjiti Arts at Kaltjiti, and Iwantja Arts at Indulkana.

Works will be spread across the entire gallery, as well as within the extensive gardens.

The idea for the exhibition began back in 2014 after the Hazelhurst exhibition Sublime Point: The Landscape in Painting, which showcased Indigenous and non-indigenous painters from across the country, including Tjala Arts. From here, gallery curator Carrie Kibbler began the initial discussions for a possible survey exhibition with Tjala Arts to bring their work to Sydney, making it accessible for audiences outside of South Australia. In the time that followed, the other six art centres became involved and Nganampa Kililpil: Our Stars was realised.

Kunmanara (Eileen Yaritja) Stevens Piltati 2006, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, National Gallery of Victoria Collection Purchased, NGV Supporters of Indigenous Art, 2008 . Copyright the artist and Tjungu Palya.

Kibbler explains that the exhibition became the catalyst for the exhibiting artists to create new, large collaborative works. “The artists proposed these works, which are the centrepieces of the exhibition,” she says “and they worked together to develop the ideas for each of the works, from the underlying themes through to the composition and the installation.” One of these will be a new, large women’s fibre work installation which has been developed in the months leading up to the exhibition, as well as significant works on loan from both National and State collections.

For Kibbler, the moment when the works arrived at the gallery was a personal highlight. “I hadn’t been able to be in the APY Lands during the workshops and had only seen images of the artists working,” she says. “It was a really incredible moment when we lifted the works up to see them for the first time.”

With works ranging from painting and printmaking to ceramics, fibre work and installations by both senior and emerging artists, Nganampa Kililpil: Our Stars is a significant and highly ambitious exhibition with the aim of promoting a greater understanding of Indigenous art and culture. As Kibbler explains, “I’d like audiences to see how knowledge and culture is passed from one generation to the next through the process of painting and how important it is for artists to share their work with audiences as a proud community celebrating their culture and keeping it strong.”

Nganampa Kililpil: Our Stars
Hazelhurst Regional Gallery
15 October – 11 December, 2016

Preview Words by Naomi Gall