Biennale of Sydney

Yarrenyty Arltere Artists

Yarrenyty Arltere Artists Collaborative: Marlene Rubuntja, Dulcie Sharpe, Dulcie Raggett, Rhonda Sharpe, Roxanne Sharpe, Roxanne Petrick, Rosabella Ryder, Trudy Inkamala, Valerie Staffiord, Every face has a story, Every story has a face, Kulila!, 2016, soft sculpture made with bush dyed woollen blankets, sticks, embellished with wool and emu feathers, nine pieces, 228 x 414 x 80 cm. Collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia. Courtesy the artist and Yarrenyty Arltere Artists, Alice Springs. Photograph: Fiona Morrison

Yarrenyty Arltere Artists

Founded 2000 in Alice Springs, Australia
Live and work in Alice Springs

Participating artists:

Cornelius Ebatarinja (Western Arrernte/Arrernte), Trudy Inkamala (Western Arrernte/Luritja), Roxanne Petrick (Alyawarre), Sonya Petrick (Eastern Arrernte/Alyawarre), Dulcie Raggett (Luritja), Marlene Rubuntja (Arrernte), Katherine Ryder (Eastern Arrernte), Rosabella Ryder (Arrernte), Dulcie Sharpe (Luritja/Arrernte), Rhonda Sharpe (Luritja)

Yarrenyty Arltere Artists is a not-for-profit Aboriginal owned and run art centre located in the Larapinta Valley Town Camp, Alice Springs; one of the oldest Town Camp communities on Arrernte country. Yarrenyty Arltere Artists is a unique Town Camp art enterprise, and works with Tangentyere Artists Aboriginal Art Centre, the hub for Town Camp Arts. Originally established as part of the Yarrenyty Arltere Learning Centre, the art centre is open to all members of the community and focuses on providing a safe, positive space that celebrates the innovation and imagination of the artists. Driven by traditional law and culture, Yarrenyty Arltere Artists works to build the confidence, skills and strength of the community through creativity and self-determination, as well as creating economic opportunities and employment pathways.

Initiated in 2000 as an arts training project that aimed to combat persistent social issues faced by people living in the Town Camp, Yarrenyty Arltere Artists was established as an enterprise in 2008 and has since become a hub of social inclusiveness and activity that has a positive impact on the entire community. Dulcie Sharpe, one of the centre’s best-known artists, notes that ‘the art makes us think of our culture in another way and what we want people to know. It’s good for everyone to have a place like this, it helps us be part of both worlds.’

Yarrenyty Arltere Artists work across a variety of disciplines including jewellery, ceramics, textiles, etching, printmaking, animation and film. At the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, they present a series of the whimsical soft sculptures that demonstrate the unique style for which they are famous. Representing the past, present and future, the pieces reflect memory and traditional stories as well as exploring contemporary issues and challenges faced by the community. Embodying local flora and fauna, stories of family and country, or scenes from everyday life in the Town Camp, the sculptures are made from recycled woollen blankets which are dyed using local plants, tea and corroded metal. Embroidered with brightly coloured wool thread and embellished with feathers, the soft sculptures are filled with character and humour. They are emblematic of the vitality of the Town Camp and its people, and the ingenuity of the Yarrenyty Arltere Artists who, through creativity and perseverance, have reignited the confidence and spirit of their community.