Sydney Contemporary


Conversation With Apy Lands Gallery (Sydney)

Exhibiting for the first time at Sydney Contemporary 2019 we spoke to APY Lands about their upcoming exhibition.

The gallery is located in Sydney, can you elaborate on its location and why you chose to open here?
The APY Art Centre Collective’s first gallery – the APY Gallery Sydney – is located at 45 Burton Street, Darlinghurst. We chose to open here as we wanted a central location in the arts district of inner Sydney, including being in close proximity to the National Art School, who is now one of our key Sydney partners.  We received generous support from a building owner who understood the Elders’ vision and wanted to support the initiative. We have since opened a second gallery in Adelaide, alongside a studio for Anangu artists who are in Adelaide for medical treatment.

What are some career highlights, or exhibition highlights in the gallery to date?
Every exhibition at the APY Gallery is a highlight because it generates income for APY artists and communities, and because they provide valuable opportunities to early career Anangu artists who are not supported or exhibited by our other partner galleries. However, one of the most rewarding exhibitions in 2018 was a fundraising exhibition by Iwantja Arts, whereby artists donated one or more artworks to raise money to renovate their art centre buildings in the community of Indulkana.

What was your first exhibition? And why?
The first exhibition at the APY Gallery was a survey exhibition of young and emerging artists from APY Art Centre Collective member organisations, including all seven APY Lands art centres (Ernabella Arts, Iwantja Arts, Mimili Maku Arts, Tjungu Palya, Tjala Arts, Ninuku Arts and Kaltjiti Arts) and also featured special punu (wood crafts) and tjanpi (grass and raffia sculpture) from Maruku Arts and Tjanpi Desert Weavers. The exhibition also included some incredible regional collaborative artworks to promote the APY Art Centre Collective’s program on the ground in the APY Lands. It was important for the first exhibition to convey the breadth and depth of talent across the APY Lands among the young and emerging artists cohort and for the APY Art Centre Collective to showcase the diversity of artmaking across its members.

Who are you bringing to Sydney Contemporary and why?
We are bringing 7 young and emerging female artists from the APY Lands: Marina Pumani Brown and Anita Pumani (Mimili Maku Arts); Madeline Curley and Carolanne Ken (Kaltjiti Arts); Vicki Cullinan (Iwantja Arts); Sharon Adamson and Illuwanti Ken (Tjala Arts). These artists were chosen as they are all examples of the artists represented by the APY Galleries. The women range in age, and explore a diversity of aesthetic, mediums and concerns. They each are in the first exciting chapters of their careers with demonstrated commitment to innovative practice which is underpinned by cultural integrity. These are artists who have suffered from a lack of opportunities until the Elders opened the APY Galleries.

Marina Pumani Brown
Iluwanti Ken

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