Embassy Tapestry Collection

Ngayuku Ngura (This is my country)

The artist: Nyankulya Watson was born around 1938 at a rock hole near Mt Aloysius (in remote Western Australia close to the South Australian border). As a teenager she lived at Anumarapiti, now an outstation of Irrunytju, later moving to Ernabella (then aPresbyterian mission in northern SA).A senior Pitjantjatjara woman and founding member of Irrunytiju Arts, she now lives in the Nyapari and Kalka communities in SA where she paints for Tjunga Palya and Ninuku Artists. Herwork is in a number of major collections, including the Art Gallery of Western Australia, National Gallery of Australia and National Gallery of Victoria.

The tapestry: The tapestry is based on a painting ofthe same title, which by way of explaining, the artist says: ‘There are many rock holes close to the place I was born. I would travel to all these places with my parents. Ngayuku ninti pulka (I know all this country). Aloysius is the main rock hole. The other rock holes in this painting are Pukara, Anumarapiti, Palki, Punuwara, Wangutiti, Atanga, Yaliri, Plalkarli and Wirkuratja. This country is in Western Australia. The lines are the travelling tracks in the sand from all the people walking to the waterholes and places where the bush foods grow.’

The strong reds and magentas contrasting with the black of the background create a tension which is disrupted by the change in scale and media from the painting to the tapestry. To help balance the black background with the reds the weavers used a blue-black and a grey-black, allowing the blacks to recede slightly, and the reds to eloquently emerge.

This tapestry was commissioned by the Tapestry Foundation of Australia as part of the Embassy Collection series, a program which places ATW tapestries in missions throughout the world. Ngayuku Ngura is currently on loan to the Australian Embassy, Rome.