Arlangkw Country

Eileen Bonney Akemarr

Arlangkw Country by Eileen Bonney Akemarr


Eileen Bonney Akemarr
Arlangkw Country
synthetic polymer on canvas
135 x 183 cm


Stock Number

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The artist
Desart, Alice Springs
Private collection, Melbourne


Amper Ilkwa (Big Country), Lauraine Diggins Fine Art 30th August - 14th October 2000
Australian Modern: Arte Australiana Moderna e Contemporanea e Arte Aborigena, Fondazione Mudima, Milan, 23 April - 24 May, 2002


Australian Modern: Arte Australiana Moderna e Contemporanea e Arte Aborigena, exhibition catalogue, Malakoff Fine Art Press, Melbourne, 2002, illus. p.30

Further Information

Artists of Ampilatwatja exude a complex and progressive approach to depicting the traditional knowledge of dreaming and country through the translation of water holes and soakages, bush medicines and bush tuckers, mountains, sand hills and ant hills.

The landscape format developed by these artists is detailed in thousands of dots of pure colour and has created a unique vision in the ever flourishing Aboriginal fine art market. Conventional western formats of landscape painting is restricted by diminishing horizon lines and vanishing points of perspective; Artists of Ampilatwatja are able to unfold the middle ground of their countries to reveal the locations of tiny soakages, where bush medicine plants can be found and bush tuckers grow. The reinterpretation of this format is a mature and progressive approach to painting. This process is not one which can simply be described as naive as some artists of the community are the direct descendants of the late Albert Namitjira and the Hermannsburg school of water colour and are well versed in the practices of western image construction.

Their work retains the cultural heritage and values of Alyawarr lore. Places that hold great significance are depicted in their new art works, identifying the country and the lay of the land instead of cultural symbols, roundels and dreaming lines. It is a process of identifying through the language of their painting the places where they come from, the knowledge they have of their lands and the abundance of life which exists in the desert regions of central Australia which is broadening audiences perspective on Australia's desert regions. What may be labelled as empty, dry arid desert, is for the Artists of Ampilatwatja, a vibrant and life sustaining environment; filled with fruits, medicines, sources of water and culture which spans time immemorial.

Ampilatwatja ( pronounced am-blood a-watch) is a community approx 320kms north east of Alice Springs, around 1910, free hold title leases  were granted by the federal government for the establishment of cattle stations on Alyawarr lands in an attempt to occupy the centre of Australia. Traditional Aboriginal owners were coerced from culturally significant sites and rites to hunting grounds, in order to make room for cattle stations.

Ammaroo Station from the sixties up until the mid seventies was a gathering place for Alyawarr people where many men began to fence, and drive cattle, enabling the cattle and pastoral industry in central Australia to develop. In 1976, under the Native Title Act, Alyawarr families were granted a small plot, or run, of land some ten kilometres from Ammaroo station and known as Honeymoon Bore. One windmill-bore was sunk and two tanks were supplied. People erected humpies of canvas, tin and trees and initiated what is now recognised as the Ampilatawatja community.