The Minyma Kutjara Arts Project is a new and exciting project initiated by the people and artists of Irrunytju and supported by Ninuku Arts, in the neighbouring community of Kalka.
Irrunytju, or Wingellina Community is a small, very remote aboriginal community located 10kms from the tri-state border of WA, NT and SA. Named after the nearby Irrunytju rockhole, this was a popular area for Anangu (people) because of the permanent water in the foothills of the Tomkinson Range which is immediately south of the community.
Irrunytju was established as a community in 1975, with the first store and shed being built from the remnants of buildings at the nearby chrysoprase mine. There had been significant small-scale mining activity in the nearby hills since the 1950s, including copper, nickel and chrysoprase. There is currently exploration for nickel in the immediate surrounding area with the possibility of development of a large-scale mine being discussed.
Irrunytju is part of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands and is home to over 150 Anangu (people) who speak primarily Pitjantjatjara language, with some Ngaanyatjarra people also. It is a thriving community with its own community office, store, school, CDEP program, hall and airstrip. It is also the home of Ngaanyatjarra Media, the regional media organisation, that grew out of the Irrunytju Media program.
The Minyma Kutjara Project re-establishes Irrunytju as centre for dynamic and culturally important artwork. The Irrunytju paintings reflect the strong relationship between the artists, their country and culture. The artwork brings together contemporary painting techniques and media with ancient visual language and tjukurpa (dreaming).
“Painting - is very important because it is about the land of the oldies, they make up stories, do painting. It is very important to them, to us, to everyone. Some are people doing their own stories by thinking, doing the painting of the country that belongs to the oldies. Because the oldies know the stories of the country. It is very important for the story that they do the painting, It’s important that they think about the country, how it is. It’s the heart of the people, it belongs to them, And the oldies know, It’s very true. They don’t it by anybody telling them, they know. They know the country is very important to them and to everybody.” - Karrika Belle Davidson, Irrunytju Artist