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April 2020


Tell me about the artist

Pauline Sunfly Nangala is the daughter of the late great Balgo painters, Sunfly Tjampitjin and Bai Bai Napangardi. Born in 1957 at the old Balgo Mission hospital and educated through the mission school, Pauline in her teenage years learned both the art of painting and the Tjukurrpa stories recreated in her paintings from watching and being instructed by her father.

Pauline is now one of the senior second generation artists painting with Warlayirti Artists, an art centre established in the 1980s and celebrated for a powerhouse of pioneer artists including Eubena Nampitjin, Elizabeth Nyumi, Boxer Milner, Susie Bootja Bootja Napaltjarri, Lucy Yukenbari, Ena Gimme Nungarrayi, Helicopter Tjungurrayi, and Pauline’s parents Sunfly Tjampitjin and Bai Bai Napangardi.

Pauline has lived her entire life at Balgo (Wirrimanu), one of Australian’s most remote Aboriginal communities located in the south-east Kimberley region of Western Australia on the northern edge of the Great Sandy Desert and on the western edge of the Tanami Desert. To give that context, the community is approximately 1100km east of Broome and 250km south of Halls Creek with a population of approximately 400 people.

How long has Vivien Anderson Gallery been representing Pauline Sunfly?

Vivien Anderson Gallery staged Pauline Sunfly’s first (and only) solo exhibition Sunfly: New Paintings by Pauline Sunfly Nangala in 2007 – a sell out exhibition, with paintings acquired by the National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery and Artbank amongst other public and private collections. It was a truly exciting exhibition at a buoyant time for Indigenous art generally, and provided the impetus for numerous opportunities for Pauline, including her selection as a finalist in the Kate Challis RAKA Award at the University of Melbourne the following year.

Then, as can so often happen to artists in socially complex situations living in remote communities, Pauline took a hiatus from painting. A long hiatus. We have stayed in touch over the years, communicating with new art centre coordinators, reminding them of the extraordinary works and success of Pauline’s earlier solo exhibition, and generally passing on our best wishes to her. We were pleased to hear that Pauline had reconnected with the art centre and painting, and were delighted to receive the news, in early 2019, that Pauline Sunfly had been selected as a feature artist in TARNANTHI – Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia which opened in October 2019 and continued until January this year. Conceived and curated by Nici Cumpston, the exhibition was a triumph, and the bold iconic works of Pauline Sunfly displayed around the atrium of the Art Gallery of South Australia demanded attention – a compelling series of totemic paintings. Her inclusion was well deserved recognition and a celebratory return to her role as painter.
We were delighted to subsequently be able to include some of these works in this year’s The Women’s Show.

Why is Pauline Sunfly important?

Pauline Sunfly continues the strong individualistic painting traditions of Balgo and her parents. Her father, Sunfly Tjampitjin, was a senior lawman in the Balgo region, and gave permission to his daughter to paint his stories. Her mother Bai Bai Napangardi, who passed away earlier this year, was equally celebrated.

Pauline Sunfly’s paintings draw on her father’s knowledge and custodianship. They are bold in their iconography, high key in colour, dynamic in their composition and executed with technical precision. Her paintings are inspired by the now famous repertoire she inherited from her father, who was a custodian of the country south of Balgo, known as Liltjin, near the vast salt lake of Wilkinkarra (Lake MacKay). Her paintings depict elements of this country: the lines represent the dry creek beds which during the wet season flow into Wilkinkarra; the holes illustrate where people lived during the Tjukurrpa (Dream time).

She also depicts Kutjupa, an important law site north of Wilkinkarra, and the significant ceremony associated with the area which is centred around the goanna. The ceremony and body painting associated with this country is no longer practiced, having died with Pauline's father and grandfather. Thus, these paintings, bold and contemporary in their execution and aesthetic, stand equally as markers to a time and a tradition now passed. Their representation of the present and past, intertwined and inextricably linked, cannot be underestimated. These new paintings also herald an exciting future for Pauline, and the artists of Balgo.

If you would like any further information on the artist or individual high res images, please contact the gallery.


April 2020


Tell me about the artist

Born in Adelaide, Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello is a master glass artist of Arrente, Kemarre skin, Chinese and Anglo-Celtic descent. Now living and working in Canberra, Jennifer completed a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) at the Canberra School of Art at the Australian National University and has a studio at the renowned Canberra Glassworks.

Jennifer is inspired by: “my Aboriginal heritage, connection to my Grandmother’s Law, the land and the unique native flora that characterise the places I have lived. My aim is to produce a body of traditionally inspired works that will pay tribute to our traditional weavers and provide recognition for these ancient cultural practices through the contemporary medium of glass. I have concentrated on the incredibly beautiful forms of traditional woven eel traps, fish traps, and dillybags, seeking to evoke the interplay of light and form found in those objects, and in so doing, create contemporary glass works which are also objects of cultural as well as artistic significance.”

When did you first become aware of Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello’s practice?

It was a hot and humid Telstra Award in 2013 (is there any other kind?) and Jennifer had just been awarded first prize for her Golden Brown Reeds Fish Trap. The award was not without controversy (is it ever?!) and yet sitting quietly in the halls of MAGNT, the work had a majestic presence; a fish trap – created far from the sea, yet reunited with it on the shores of the Arafura - permanent and heavy in its materiality, yet ethereal in the way it allowed light to dance through the canes of colour. This tribute to the traditional Aboriginal practice of weaving – the oldest living practice of the method in the world – was enough for us to swoon, and take notice, and we have continued to watch and celebrate her career, and expansion of her glass practice not only into other forms of traditional woven vessels such as the bicornual basket and dillibags, but also her memorial poles, commemorating indigenous sacrifice during WWI and WWII now in the collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Why did you choose Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello to be a feature artist in The Women’s Show?
The Women’s Show is our annual exhibition celebrating the achievements of Australian Indigenous women artists and their ever expanding contribution to Australian and international arts and culture. It is a perennial favourite amongst artists and clients alike, a carefully curated exhibition of leading and emerging women artists traversing the length and breadth of Australia, and the myriad of artforms encountered.

Jenni’s work fits perfectly into this context – not only are her superb woven glass sculptures a celebration of the breadth of Indigenous women’s ancient material culture from across Australia, but the innovation of the materiality adds further complexity, and new ways of seeing the traditional woven objects.  

This is the first time we have had the opportunity to exhibit Jenni – and when she arrived at the gallery with four carefully wrapped parcels earlier this year, opened over a cup of tea, the reaction was one of pure joy. The glass canes of the eel trap, fish trap and dillibag give the illusion of woven fibres, while the bicornual basket bursts with pops of colour, as though filled with a carpet of native flowers in Spring.
Jenni is a significant artist working within non traditional mediums. She has been the recipient of the Australia Council residency at the Kluge Ruhe Collection of Australian Aboriginal Art, and her works are in major national and international collections including the National Gallery or Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, QAGOMA, Australian Parliament House Collection, and the British Museum in London. She is also an advocate for other artists. In 2003, Jenni started the Indigenous Textiles and Glass Artists (ITAG) organisation with Lyndy Delian. ITAG is run in a traditional manner under the guidance of elders, responding to what the artists need, which includes advocacy for artists and negotiating on their behalf with arts organisations such as Megalo and the Canberra Glassworks. 
The works selected for The Women’s Show are of great technical skill and beauty, testament to Jenni’s expertise and commitment to her craft. These objects are exquisitely made, imbued with cultural significance and a celebration of traditional women’s works, and are deeply satisfying.
This is the first time Jenni’s glass sculptures have been available in Melbourne, and we are delighted to introduce her works to you. If you would like any further information or individual high res images, please contact the gallery.

Image: Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello, Medium Bi-colour Eel Trap # 2 2015, hot blown glass with canes, 79 x 30 x 30 cm


April 2020

Each week we will deliver a piece of the gallery direct to your inbox, from featured artists from our current gallery exhibition, favourite artists from the past, and future online exhibitions and exclusive artworks.

It’s a conversation - the kind we look forward to having with you in the gallery - and will each week address key questions about the featured artist and their practice including who the artist is and where they are from, the artist’s inspiration, our history with the artist and why we think they’re so important!

The first delicious instalment is our feature artist from The Women’s Show, Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello - see below.

If there are any artists you would like us to feature over the coming weeks, please get in touch via email, Facebook and Instagram.

We’ll also continue to update you on when the gallery will reopen with our planned exhibition schedule of important solo exhibitions from Naomi Hobson, Dino Wilson in association with Jilamara Arts and Crafts , Maureen Poulson Napangardi and Charlotte Phillipus Napurrula in association with Papunya Tjupi, and Maringka Baker in association with Tjungu Palya.

We will look forward to bringing you other (online) innovations over the coming weeks. And obviously we’re also still available to arrange delivery of the real artwork to your actual door too.

Stay safe and stay well.

VIVIEN ANDERSON GALLERY| Gallery remaining open

March 2020

Whilst many cultural organisations have activated COVID-19 restrictions, Vivien Anderson Gallery, as a private commercial gallery, will remain open until further notice.

We welcome visitors to see the outstanding exhibition The Women's Show and explore the other artists we represent during our regular opening hours, whilst implementing additional precautionary measures to ensure the wellbeing of our staff, artists and community. We ask that people who are unwell do not visit and follow the Department of Health and Human Services guidelines and recommendations.

It is very important that we continue to support the indigenous visual arts sector. The current uncertainty has affected many of our artists, with national and international exhibitions, residencies and presentations cancelled or postponed. Most of our artists are sole traders whose only source of income is from their art.

Many of our artists are also living in remote communities. As most isolated indigenous communities have elderly populations with serious underlying health conditions, the communities have been locked down to prevent the spread of the virus. The artists in these communities are now more than ever very financially vulnerable. The cost of basic food items and goods in remote communities is not subsidised, the average daily shop would be at least 50% more than in a major city or regional centre.

We ask that if you are considering acquiring a work of art to treasure, please advance that purchase and we will ensure the artist immediately receives the funds through their art centre or directly in order to feed their family and keep making art. You then can enjoy the appreciation of the artwork and continue the journey of discovery that is indigenous Australian art.

We will also take the opportunity to produce regular newsletters with in-depth articles about artists we represent and exhibit, including those in the current exhibition. Our exhibitions and further information on our artists can also be found on our website

We will also continue to share updates through our Instagram and Facebook pages so you can continue to connect with us.

Art has the capacity to create inspired revelations, lift our spirits, and support our sense of community. We ask that you continue to support artists by engaging with their work and stories during these uncertain times.

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