Sisters Rachael and Alison Lionel first came into the Ernabella art centre as children. They would sit, watch and learn from their mother, Yurpiya, and grandmother, Pantitiji (now deceased), both senior and acclaimed APY Lands artists.
While many artists paint only of their Tjukurpa (culture, law and dreaming), the Lionel sisters interpret the traditions and techniques learned from their mother and grandmother in their own ways. They are at the forefront of a new generation of Aboriginal artists simultaneously breaking new ground and respecting traditions – taking ownership of their creativity to make their own mark. Rachael often paints experiences from her own dreams while Alison interprets close up views of natural wonders.
In the art centre, Alison will sit next to her mother, Yurpiya, whose words of encouragement are often heard – wirunya (beautiful), palya (good), rikana (awesome). Rachael is a nocturnal painter, working mainly at home during the night. When she brings her canvases into the art centre, they invariably set off a chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from other artists.
Malanypa Munu Kangkuru (younger sister, older sister) is a celebration of the love the two sisters have for each other, their pride in continuing matriarchal traditions and their commitment and need to create. Rachael has been known to say many times “I love my job, I love being an artist”. The Lionel sisters are artists for life and are already teaching their own children their craft.
Aboriginal Contemporary has been representing Ernabella artists for ten years. Ernabella itself is Australia’s oldest continuously-running indigenous art centre – now in its 73rd year. The stunning and collectible artworks in this new exhibition are a clear sign that Ernabella artists will be at the forefront of contemporary Aboriginal art for many years to come.
View the catalogue HERE
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