Ruby Tjangawa Williamson / Pitjantjatjarra people / Australia 1940–2014 / Nita Williamson (collaborating artist) / Pitjantjatjarra people / Australia b.1963 / Suzanne Armstrong (collaborating artist) / Pitjantjatjarra people / Australia b.1980 / Ngayuku ngura (My country) Puli murpu (Mountain range) 2012 / Synthetic polymer paint on linen / 197 x 196cm / Purchased 2012 with funds from Margaret Mittelheuser, AM, and Cathryn Mittelheuser, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art / © Ruby Tjangawa Williamson, Nita Williamson, Suzanne Armstrong/Licensed by Viscopy 2012

Ngayuku ngura (My country) puli murpu (Mountain range) 2012

Not Currently on Display

This painting was created by three generations of women: senior artist and grandmother Ruby Tjangawa Williamson, her daughter Nita Williamson and grand-daughter Suzanne Armstrong. It is an example of passing sacred ancestral narratives and knowledge across generations through a collaborative teaching and learning process.

This painting features the mountain range puli murpu in Pitjantjatjara along the border of South Australia and the Northern Territory, near Amata, where women engage in ceremonial business.

The three artists have painted aerial and profile views of the mountains, and the different colours and designs represent the rich variation in this landscape, including hills, rocks and fertile green places. There are also beautiful rockholes, which are shown as blue areas to depict the kapi tjukula (fresh water) found there.

Ruby Tjangawa Williamson, Nita Williamson and Suzanne Armstrong are three generations of Pitjantjatjara women. They paint at Tjala Arts Aboriginal Art Centre (originally known as Minymaku Arts), which was established in 1997 by the women of Amata, an Aboriginal community approximately 120 kilometres south of Uluru in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunyjatjara (APY) Lands of north-west South Australia.

Tjala Arts has provided the opportunity for the Anangu (Pitjanjatjara speaking people) to explore the Tjukurpa (Dreaming) of their region, and to develop a range of art and craft skills. The centre is known for the diverse, energetic styles and rich, colour palette of its artists.

It also plays a significant role in the well-being of the community, maintaining culture and law and enabling the artists’ economic independence.

Discussion Questions

1. Consider the reasons for making this artwork. What did this artwork make you think about and why?

2. Some aspects of this work are strongly linked to Indigenous approaches to art making, while other aspects are more contemporary. Discuss.

3. Consider how the indigenous style of representing the landscape compares to that used by surveyors (e.g. contour maps, architectural drawings, elevations and cross-sections).

Classroom Activities

1. Choose a feature of your natural or built environment (e.g. a tree, building, or chair). Draw the chosen feature from your perspective – this can be observational or imagined, as if you could hover above or crawl below. Share and discuss the individual drawings with the group and then work collaboratively to create a larger artwork that combines all perspectives.

2. Construct an image of an interior or exterior place which utilises multiple perspectives. Begin the process by recording each of the views separately in your journal. Combine these seamlessly into a single image. With acrylic paint, or pastel, add colour to your image, visually linking the various parts in a way that provides further unity to the composition.