Songlines' Balgo and Other Paintings, Page 16


9. (TDB 3) Tjun Tjun, Clem Rictor, 2002, 25 x 31 inches For Sale

With Aboriginal art you always have to be ready to expect the unexpected. Its one of the reasons why the field is still capable of exciting the imagination of collectors and art and culture enthusiasts around the world after long after the "shock of the new" has worn off. While there are those who are frequently bemoaning the state of affairs when our older established artists pass away or enter into physical decline, consistent with their advanced ages, the field as a whole has showed a remarkable resiliency in consistently producing new older artists, seemingly out of nowhere, whose work is fresh and exciting as well as deeply rooted in tradition. But of course these artists did not just develop out of nowhere their artistry is always rooted in a lifetime of producing art in a ceremonial context, they just never thought of coming out as fine artists or were too distracted by other responsibilities.

Every few years new communities in remote areas adopt painting and produce some standout artists, whose work quickly becomes in deman., In recent times these communities are increasingly located further and further afield from the Central and Western Desert region where painting has been going on since the early 70's and 80's. One such community that comes to mind is the so called "Spinifex People" of the Great Victoria Desert region in the southeast corner of Western Australia. Another of the most recent emerging community stories is that of Irrunytju artists: Pintjantjatjara speakers from the area where the Northern Territory abuts both South Australia and Western Australia. After a few very successful shows in 2002 which brought to them the worlds attention. Irrunytju artist Clem Rictor is already in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

This is one of Clem's first paintings, typically, he did not give out a whole lot of information about it. The central waterhole depicted in orange and white is called Tjun Tjun. Clem said," Aboriginal people walked from rockhole to rockhole (the orange and white circular motifs). You can see the traveling tracks (the network of crisscrossing lines) in my painting ."

Clem's painting has the raw vibrancy typical of aboriginal artists when the first start painting, reminiscent of the first paintings made at Papunya in 1971, very free and unselfconscious.