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Jorna Newberry / Fire Dreaming

71cm x 56cm Acrylic on Linen 

SKU: JOR201606


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SKU: JOR201606 Category:

Source Gallery: Yanda Aboriginal Art, Alice Springs, NT

Jorna Newberry is a Pitjantjatjara artist, born c.1959 at Angus Downs in the Northern Territory. Jorna lives between the communities of Warakurna and Irrunytju and the township of Alice Springs where she has family. By travelling from the remote communities to the town, Jorna continues to live both the traditional Aboriginal life of her indigenous background and the contemporary culture of modern Australia.

When visiting her lands she regularly goes bush with the women of her community to participate in traditional ceremonies and bush tucker gathering. Jorna began painting in mid 1990s at Warakurna, and now paints for Yanda Art Gallery in NT.

Over recent years Jorna has worked closely alongside her uncle, Yannima Pikarli Tommy Watson who is internationally recognised as one of the most significant aboriginal artists of our time. She follows his instruction to favour abstract styles as a means to ensure secrecy of important indigenous cultural matters, rather than taking a more figurative approach. She says “Uncle has had a big influence on me. He teaches me to be respectful in the way I paint”.

Jorna’s style of art is exciting and fresh, she is definitely an artist with a huge career in front of her.

Selected Group Exhibitions

Artplace, Perth WA

Harrison Galleries, Sydney NSW

Two Women Artists: Jorna Newberry & Maisie Campbell Napaltjarri, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA
Desert Gold, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA

Desert Song, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle WA

Waru Tjukurrpa (Fire Dreaming) is the use of fire for hunting and for land management on traditional Aboriginal lands. Jorna Newberry has extended the imagery and story that she has previously represented under the title Walpa Tjukurrpa, or Wind Dreaming. Both these Dreaming stories relate to Jorna’s mother’s country at Utantja, on Pitjantjatjara country near the intersection of the three state boundaries of Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia.

In the paintings Jorna has represented the land being burned off in a controlled way. The swirling areas of red indicate the fire and the effects of the wind. The people would stand down-wind to create the line of fire. As it moved forward the fire would flush out lizards, snakes and goannas, which hunters ahead of the fire would attempt to catch. Jorna describes her mother’s country also as being filled with kangaroos and camels, rock wallabies and birds – larger game that was attractive to the hunters.

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