Cooee Art Gallery is pleased to introduce the exhibition, Dreamings in the Wind by Jorna Newberry. This exhibition comprises the artist’s interpretation of Walpa Tjukurpa (Wind Dreaming) paintings as well as works relating to the sacred Women’s ceremonial site adjacent to Tjukurla, in her country. The Wind Dreaming narrative is from her mother’s country at Utanja, a large stretch of land with undulating hills and a large rockhole where sacred ceremonial women’s rites and dances are performed.
Jorna Newberry is a Pitjantjatjara artist who was born in 1959 on Angas Downs, the Indigenous-owned pastoral lease, near the MacDonnell ranges 300 km south-west of Alice Springs. She began painting in Warakurna in the mid 1990s and later joined Irrunytju arts centre in Wingellina. Her work relates directly to the surrounding Pitjantjatjara lands in the Western Desert. Newberry paints places of significance with traditional and spiritual knowledge, relaying ancestral stories which are embedded in the land. She currently divides her time between living a traditional life in Warakurna and Wingellina and living a more modern contemporary life in Alice Springs with her extended family.
Jorna learned to paint while looking after her adoptive uncle, the renowned artist Tommy Yannima Watson. To ensure the secrecy of important stories and cultural matters that inform and underpin her artworks, she conforms to her now deceased uncle's footsteps by employing an abstract, multi-layered approach when rendering her stories in paint and canvas. She softens the iconography through intricate, interlaced finely dotted patterns. Stylistically this method is shared by many of the Mount Leibig female artists whom she often works alongside. The soft roundels represent the rockhole as well as the ceremonial site. The lines represent sandhills.
At this important site, ‘the wind ceremony forms winds.. creates air to cool the lands’ . As Jorna explains, 'the cooler the land gets, the easier it is for hunting'
Tommy had a big influence on me. He taught (sic) me to be respectful in the way I paint.”