Biennale of Sydney

Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre

Left to Right: Gloria Pannka, People from community come To Town for Family whos sick IN Hospital or in Jail + They cant stay in with family living in NT housing so they become HOMELES, 2018-19; Vanessa Inkamala, MY COUNTRY IS STILL ALIVE!, 2018-19; and Hillary Wirri, 500KM From ALICE SPRINGS, 2018-19. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Art Gallery of New South Wales. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from Fondation Opale. Courtesy the artists and Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Alice Springs. Photograph: Zan Wimberley
Vanessa Inkamala, HOMELESS ON MY HOMELAND, 2018-19. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from Fondation Opale. Courtesy the artist and Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Alice Springs. Photograph: Alex Robinson
Vanessa Inkamala, HOMELESS ON MY HOMELAND, 2018-19. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from Fondation Opale. Courtesy the artist and Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Alice Springs. Photograph: Alex Robinson
Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Homeless on my homeland, 2018-19. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from Fondation Opale. Participating artists: Kathleen France, Noreen Hudson, Clara Inkamala, Dellina Inkamala, Kathy Inkamala, Reinhold Inkamala, Vanessa Inkamala, Janie Karpa, Gloria Pannka, Hubert Pareroultja, Ivy Pareroultja, Mervyn Rubuntja, Hillary Wirri. Courtesy the artists and Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Alice Springs. Photograph: Jessica Maurer
Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre. From left to right: Kathleen France, Gloria Pannka, Noreen Hudson, Ivy Pareroultja, Vanessa Inkamala and Mervyn Rubuntja. Photograph courtesy Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre

Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre
Founded in 2004 in Mparntwe, Northern Territory, Australia


“We want to introduce the beautiful landscape of the Northern Territory to people in urban environments. At the same time, we want to raise awareness about the issues we are facing. We feel that there is a lack of consultation with traditional owners. If the authorities listened to us then they would support us with housing issues for example, rather than investing in mining on our country, which we strongly object to. The works we present at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney are to let people know about our country and our lives.” 

– Mervyn Rubuntja, senior artist at ltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre

Directed by descendants and kin relatives of Albert Namatjira, Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre is proud to keep the Hermannsburg watercolour tradition strong for future generations.

Fourteen artists from Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre are being shown across multiple locations for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, tracing stories of country as well as struggles with housing and displacement. Beautiful landscapes have been painted onto ‘dollar shop’ bags, a potent material symbol of life on the move. These works explore continuing connection to country, as well as continued cycles of dispossession, while powerfully asserting messages of self-determination to the many who have no connection or understanding of these urgent messages.

Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre (incorporated in 2016) is proudly Aboriginal owned and directed. It is the home of the Namatjira watercolour artists. The Art Centre was established by Ngurratjuta/Pmara Ntjarra Aboriginal Corporation and started operating in 2004, as a not-for-profit Art Centre to provide a place for Arrernte Artists to come together to paint, share and learn new techniques and ideas. The Art Centre is strongly committed to improving economic participation of Aboriginal people and maintaining cultural heritage.

Iltja Ntjarra Art Centre has a special focus on supporting the ‘Hermannsburg School’ style watercolour artists, who continue to paint in the tradition of their grandfather and relative, Albert Namatjira, arguably one of Australia’s most famous artists of the 20th century. Albert Namatjira taught his children to follow in his unique style, who have since passed this knowledge on to their children, which has resonated in a legacy of watercolour artists in the Central Desert region. By continuing his legacy, these artists sustain an important piece of living history.

Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from Fondation Opale. Courtesy the artists and Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Alice Springs.

Participating artists:

Mervyn Rubuntja
Born 1958 in Telegraph Station, Mparntwe / Alice Springs, Australia
Lives at Larapinta Valley town camp, Mparntwe
Works at Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Mparntwe

Gloria Pannka
Born 1953 in Ntaria / Hermannsburg, Australia
Lives at Thakaperte outstation, Australia
Works at Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Mparntwe, Australia

Vanessa Inkamala
Born 1968 in Ntaria / Hermannsburg, Australia
Lives at Topsy Smith Hostel, Mparntwe / Alice Springs, Australia
Works at Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Mparntwe

Hubert Pareroultja
Born 1952 in Ntaria / Hermannsburg, Australia
Lives at Kulpitharra / Lundara outstation, Australia
Works at Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Mparntwe, Australia

Kathy Inkamala
Born 1968 in Ntaria / Hermannsburg, Australia
Lives in public housing, Mparntwe / Alice Springs, Australia
Works at Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Mparntwe

Ivy Pareroultja
Born 1952 in Ntaria / Hermannsburg, Australia
Lives at Alyerre Hostel, Mparntwe / Alice Springs, Australia
Works at Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Mparntwe

Noreen Hudson
Born 1947 in Ntaria / Hermannsburg, Australia
Lives at Ayipirinya Hostel, Mparntwe / Alice Springs, Australia
Works at Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Mparntwe

Clara Inkamala
Born 1954 in Ntaria / Hermannsburg, Australia
Lives at Topsy Smith Hostel, Mparntwe / Alice Springs, Australia
Works at Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Mparntwe

Kathleen France
Born 1955 in Ntaria / Hermannsburg, Australia
Lives at Ayipirinya Hostel, Mparntwe / Alice Springs, Australia
Works at Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Mparntwe

Dellina Inkamala
Born 1984 in Mparntwe / Alice Springs, Australia
Lives in public housing, Mparntwe
Works at Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Mparntwe

Reinhold Inkamala
Born in Mparntwe / Alice Springs, Australia
Lives at Abbott’s town camp, Mparntwe
Works at Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Mparntwe

Benita Clements
Born 1980 in Mparntwe / Alice Springs, Australia
Lives in public housing, Mparntwe
Works at Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Mparntwe

Hilary Wirri
Born 1956 in Papunya community, Northern Territory, Australia
Lives at Abbott’s town camp, Mparntwe / Alice Springs, Australia
Works at Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Mparntwe

Janie Karpa
Born 1963 in Papunya community, Northern Territory, Australia
Lives in public housing, Mparntwe / Alice Springs, Australia
Works at Iltja Ntjarra / Many Hands Art Centre, Mparntwe