The Martu have a unique painting practice which is rapidly gaining international attentions. More than 40 works have been selected for the exhibition, ranging from illustrative snapshots of ordinary daily life, such as camel hunts and desert football matches, to hypnotically beautiful paintings by senior artists.
These artworks are suffused with the Martuís experience of the Western Desert and explore major sites, ancestoral stories, land use, fire burning practices and life in these remote communities.
Stories of selected paintings available on headset.
The Phone Booth Project: Lily Hibberd & Curtis Taylor
Revealing the humourous, colloquial and adaptable nature of communication across the vast Western Desert, The Phone Booth Project features a Pilbara phone booth, large-scale projections and multi-lingual dialogues.
Working collaboratively, Martu filmmaker Curtis Taylor and established Melbourne artist Lily Hibberd present a video installation which explores communication and the use of phone booths in the remote desert communities.
Video installation: Lynette Wallworth
Internationally acclaimed artist Lynette Wallworth is renowned for her immersive video installations. Invited by Martu artists to respond to country, the Sydney-based artist travelled to Martu country with community members and long time collaborator Pete Brundle to learn about the Martu. The resulting work draws viewers into an understanding of the Martu and their inextricable connection to the Western Desert, via the eyes and ears of a newcomer to that country.
Portraits of The Mob: Tobias Titz
These direct and striking photographic portraits of the Martu artists and rangers are accompanied by their words and drawings. Photographer Titz (GER/AUS) has been working in the Pilbara for several years.
The Western Desert from Above
The vast expanses of the desert, ancient waterways, salt flats and ridges of sand hills feature in this series of aerial photographs that capture Martu country. An accompanying animated map details the layered complexity of the Western Desert, showing family travel routes and the movement of the Martu rangers as they care for country.
Martu baskets and carvings
Finely wrought baskets, expertly carved wooden spears, karli (Martu boomerang) and grass sandles showcase how the Martu blend traditional skills with new materials and techniques. A limited number of these wares will be available for sale.
Giant inflatable basket: Thelma Judson
Based on a hand-made basket by Martu artist Thelma Judson, this giant, playful structure invites visitors inside.
At the entrance of the grounds, the Pilbara Garden celebrates the arrival of the Martu Mob at FAC and brings the colours and flora of the Western Desert to Fremantle.
Wednesday, 16 January
Public talk and gallery tour
Robert Tonkinson and Martu children at Parnngurr, 1963
In the final week of We donít need a map: a Martu experience of the Western Desert join acclaimed anthropologist Prof Robert Tonkinson and arts writer Darren Jorgensen for an in depth and engaging discussion about Martu life and culture.
Prof Tonkinson has been working with the Martu, some of whom are participants in We donít need a map, since 1963. His research and personal experiences provide a unique and invaluable insight into the Martuís way of life.
Gallery tour by Martu artist Curtis Taylor, We donít need a map co-curators Kathleen Sorensen (Martu cultural consultant) and Erin Coates (Fremantle Arts Centre Exhibitions Coordinator).
Professor Robert Tonkinson, University of Western Australia,
Senior Honorary Research Fellow Anthropology and Sociology
This fascinating talk by anthropologist Robert Tonkinson will reflect on his experiences with the Martu and his insights into their culture and world view. Tonkinsonís has a long-standing interest in the Martu and in 1963 he began the first of many visits to Jigalong community Ė then a mission Ė to learn directly about Martu language, religion and way of life. More than forty years later, several of the same Martu Tonkinson first met are senior practicing artists and rangers and are featured in We donít need a map.
Robert Tonkinson is a senior research fellow at the University of Western Australia and the author of numerous books and published essays on Australian and Melanesian culture, including , The Jigalong Mob (1974) and The Mardu Aborigines (1978/91). Tonkinson has been active in land claim research on behalf of the Martu, who gained title to a large area of their traditional homelands in 2002.
Associate Professor Darren Jorgensen, University of Western Australia
Speaking directly about the artworks in We donít need a map, arts writer and lecturer Darren Jorgensen will share his responses to the exhibition. Looking at several key works, Jorgensen will discuss how Martu cosmology and connection to country are embedded in the paintings and new media works.
Darren Jorgensen is a freelance arts writer and a lecturer in art history at the University of Western Australia. His research includes Aboriginal art centres and on art from remote communities.
Join co-curators Erin Coates and Kathleen Sorensen and Martu artist Curtis Taylor, on a walk through Fremantle Arts Centreís galleries. This informal tour will provide anecdotal and background information on the works in the exhibition and the process of creating We donít need a map.
Bar open | food available
Wednesday 16 January, 2013
Gates open 6:30pm
Talks in the Inner Courtyard 7-8pm
Informal gallery tour 8-8.30pm
Tickets $10 from fac.org.au and 9432 9555
We donít need a map: a Martu experience of the Western Desert
Closes 20 January, 2013