The Ernabella community of indigenous artists in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands) in remote South Australia was established in 1948 from its origins as a mission craft room, and has evolved to become a thriving art community that has ensured the preservation of indigenous art heritage and culture. Today, Ernabella Arts is one of Australia’s longest continuously running Aboriginal arts organisations.
The community of Ernabella supports artists by making beneficial commercial connections and seeking opportunities for its artists to make certain the life and business of indigenous art is sustained. In turn, proceeds from the sale of the artists’ ceramics goes back to the broader community of Ernabella, which includes residential homes, a school, hospital, police station and even a university campus. So the artists’ continued success is lifeblood for the broader community, offering commercial and cultural sustainability.
Since Baillie Lodges assumed management of Longitude 131° in November 2013, owner Hayley Baillie has worked direct with the artists and ceramists at Ernabella to commission works for the main guest tents and lounge areas at the lodge, and stocked the smaller ceramic pieces – which have proved to be a popular keepsake from guests’ experience of the Australian outback – in the boutique.
For instance, two ceramic artists, Tjimpuna Williams and Derek Jungarrayi Thompson, travelled to the Big Pot factory in Jingdezhen, China in 2015 for an artists’ residency, made largely possible by a significant Longitude 131° commission including a major installation piece. Jingdezhen, known as ‘Porcelain City’, has a history of ceramics dating back almost 2000 years. The project was designed to bring together the two ancient creative cultures to create contemporary artworks as well as to share knowledge, techniques and connections.
The Ernabella artists created more than 40 large pots during their China residency which were delivered back to selected art galleries around Australia for exhibition and sale.
In July, Longitude 131° took delivery of nine of the pots Tjimpuna and Derek had created in China, including one ‘tall pot’ specially commissioned for the lodge and reaching some 1.8 metres in height – large enough to fit a standing person! The pot’s colourful design was created by Tjimpuna who will travel to Longitude 131° to see the finished product for the first time in the Dune House.
For the first time, a new bespoke experience offers guests at Longitude 131° an exclusive opportunity to visit the remote Ernabella Arts studio and engage with its residents. In turn, the full day private tour allows artists to share their heritage and artworks in a one-on-one encounter that promises to be rich, colourful and unforgettable. To learn more about this road-trip with a creative difference, click here.
Meanwhile the Indigenous Arts Festival is running in Adelaide over the dates October 8 – 18, 2015 which features some of the Ernabella Arts works. See more here: http://tarnanthi.com.au/
Find out more about Ernabella Arts here: http://www.ernabellaarts.com.au