NAIDOC week celebrates the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
This year the theme of NAIDOC week is 'Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up!' representing the urgent need for systematic change, towards more unified environmental, cultural and heritage protections, as well as constitutional change in support of our indigenous elders and their communities.
Tigmi are honoured to share the incredible work of Pitjantjatjara artist Rita Watson at their Byron Bay studio during NAIDOC week 2022.
Rita Watson is a proud Pitjanjatura Minyma (woman) from Warburton, a remote community in Western Australia. The daughter of renowned Irrunytju artist Tjuruparu Watson, creativity flows deep through Rita’s veins.
A celebrated artist in Ninuku Arts, an art collective based in the far northwest corner of South Australia, Rita is dedicated to her craft. Her work moves through iconographic compositions on canvas, to intricate detailing that can be found on her glass work.
“Rita is an inimitable artist. Most days she is painting in a way that is akin to meditation, always with a super-huge cup of tea from her billy can," says Ninuku’s manager eila vinwynn.
Her artworks are heavily influenced by her father’s country, ‘Illurpa’, where she spent much time as a younger woman, travelling across the NPY land.
In this series of paintings, she explores stories about Ilurpa, located near Papulankatja, Western Australia - where Western Ngaayatjara and Eastern Pitjantjatara dialects diverge. Capturing details of this camp in her work, such as tjukula (rockholes), kalyan kalyan (honey grevilla plant), tjanpi (spinifex), kampurarpa (bush tomatoes), Anangu (people), punu (trees) and wiltja (windbreaks). The land is richly laden with stories and meaning and is an inseparable and important part of the Anangu [people’s] identity.
Rita’s works weave a story of her father’s ngurra (camp & country) that is now her country, home to many dreaming sites, stories and inma (songs). Centred around a 'ladies camp', here the women sing women-only songs – never to be heard by men.
“To the present day, the inma continues to stitch together millennia. It is a tradition that has been performed here in the same way since forever,” says eila.
Rita works in the style of Milpatjunanyi, which is an indigenous tradition of drawing in the sand in a visually symbolic language, that holds a profound importance in Anangu culture. It is a practice that forges tangible connections to story, law and culture, whether drawn in the sand, upon the body or in this instance - canvas. She uses an interesting palette and granular texture, with bold linear graphics.
"Rita’s work displays her wonderful ability to capture the stories of country and those of her ancestors in a unique naïve style with a bold graphic visual language that is both contemporary, yet remains deeply rooted in cultural tradition. We are extremely proud to be bringing this collection of works from the desert to the sea during NAIDOC week." - Creative Director of Tigmi, Danielle McEwan.
Rita Watson exhibits at Tigmi’s Byron Bay studio from July 3.
10% of sales from this exhibition will be donated to local indigenous newspaper Koori Mail – an 100% aboriginal owned and 100% self-funded newspaper that is widely recognised as ‘the voice of Indigenous Australia.’
During the 2022 floods and to this day, the Koori Mail has supported the local Northern Rivers community by helping rescue, feed, house & clothe those affected, from their headquarters in Lismore – despite also losing their offices due to the floods. The contribution will go towards rebuilding the home of Australia’s only independent Indigenous newspaper.
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I have a vase painted by Rita of the Wongapitcha tribe that I am trying to find on the net but have had no success. It is a beautiful piece and would appreciate if you can help me with a price and more info about Rita Watson.
Many thanks in advance