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Yarliritja | Spinifex Men's Collaborative - 2004

synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
173.0 x 135.0 cm
Price Realised: $4,880.00

MP #354


Artists: Roy Underwood, Lennard Walker, Richard Brooks, Ned Grant & Alan Jamieson

Spinifex Artists, WA Cat No. C.289
Flinders Lane Gallery, Vic Cat No. FG04605
Private Collection, Tas


accompanied by a Flinders Lane Gallery certificate of authenticity


Flinders Lane Gallery, Vic

The Spinifex people live in the Great Victoria Desert near the tristate border between South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. They began painting collaborative works in order to document their successful land claim over an area of desert country larger than the state of Tasmania.


This is a major Spinifex men's painting of Yarlirritja in the western sector of the Spinifex lands. At Yarlirritja, the Minyma Tjuta (Seven Sisters) first gathered white ochre and painted themselves up and began to sing. Because the songs were not supposed to be heard by men, Nyirru, the old man who pursues the sisters, was strongly affected when he happened to chance upon the group of sisters performing. Hiding in the darkness Nyirru was drawn in and thus began his pursuit and consequently the path of this major Western Desert story. The painting also shows the Irtarra trees prominent in the area where the sisters and Nyirru were camped.

This collaborative painting is a cartographic map of country owned by the men of the Spinifex country. At the time it was painted each of the participants sat with their back to their own clan lands with the unstretched canvas lying on the ground between them. Each participant then painted their own country as they all worked toward the centre of the canvas accompanied by singing as they brought this Dreaming to life.