Titjikala Art Centre, N.T
Cooee Art Gallery
Johnny Young was born in 1964 grew up on the mission at Santa Teresa, now known as Ltyentye Apurte. As a young man he was employed as a stockman breaking in horses and camels, and began working with leather, making functional pieces for saddlery and craft ware.
In his spare time Johnny pursued the tradition of creating ‘bush toys’ from wire, scrap metal and other salvaged materials. His first work was a small version of a football field, complete with players made from horseshoe nails.
Over the years Johnny has proven himself to be as versatile as the materials from which he shapes his craft, and his subjects range from cowboys and rodeo riders to camels, cameleers and motorbikes. Figurines are constructed from recycled copper wires wound tightly together, and then dressed using a range of found and salvaged items. Johnny’s artwork reveals a deep love of station life, and invites us to look at the social history of the region in which Aboriginal people have been central to the pastoral industry for generations.
In the early 1990’s he moved to the Titjikala community to marry, and currently lives there with his family.
Titjikala is a small community located 107km south of Alice Springs, on the edge of the Simpson Desert, and has a population of approximately 300 people, whose primary language is Luritja, Arrernte or Pitjantjatjara. The community is also known as Tapatjatjaka or Maryvale.
Aboriginal people started settling in the area in the 1950s, when a mission truck visited every six weeks. Families would work at the surrounding stations as stockman, cameleers and domestic staff.
The countryside surrounding Titjikala is characterised by red sand-hills and desert oaks. The community is host to the renowned Titjikala Art Centre, where the local artists produce a variety of unique indigenous art forms including Paintingss, bush toys, wire sculptures, punu (wood carving), weaving, jewelry and grass and raffia sculptures.