Spinifex Arts Project Aboriginal Corporation, Tjuntjuntjara Arts Centre, WA
Private Collection, NSW
Cooee Art, NSW
When the Spinifex people returned to their homelands in the 1980s after their displacement during the Maralinga atomic tests, they found the southern part of their country had been converted into a nature reserve, the northern third leased to Aboriginal people from the north and the centre deemed vacant crown land. In order to document their land claim over country three times the size of Israel and twice the size of Tasmania, a suite of paintings were produced and used as evidence in the high court’s deliberations. Their native title was recognised by the High Court of Australia in 1992, and the paintings were subsequently given to the Western Australian Museum in a symbolic exchange of art for land.
Since successfully reclaiming their heritage, Spinifex people have moved back on to their land and on successive field trips to specific locations have continued to record their sacred places in paintings quite different aesthetically than any others amongst Australian desert artists. Their paintings are created on ‘back to country’ journeys involving groups of people with their children, hardy vehicles and enough provisions to survive the often rugged distances travelled.Share