Yankunytjatjara, Western Arrernte
synthetic polymer on linen
198 x 189cm
Courtesy of the artist
Robert Fielding is a contemporary artist of Pakistani, Afghan, Western Arrernte and Yankunytjatjara descent living in Mimili Community. Fielding's practice is rooted in his experience of reclaiming culture as a son of the Stolen Generation. He has researched archives across Australia's cultural institutions, whilst concurrently learning from his Elders on the APY Lands. This personal history brings a unique perspective to his work, offering a reminder that many Aboriginal practices are stronger than ever today. Fielding's practice is a social commentary from the heart of our country bringing together two very distinct knowledge systems and realities coexisting in Australia today.
Robert Fielding is connected to landscape through Tjukurpa (all-encompassing lore, culture and ceremony). In this work he lets the expanse of the landscape, and the all-embracing ancestors speak beyond the traditional frame of landscape painting. Fielding reinserts the artist voice, quite literally, by working words into the painting. Both giving voice to him as artist and acknowledging the dominance of Tjukurpa and its relationship to country. These words are also a warning of fragility, this relationship must be nurtured, and its potency carried forward.
'Our land is sacred, our culture is sacred, and our relationships with both are constantly changing. These paintings are an exploration of our ongoing fight to protect this land, to maintain our culture. My works are a reminder that we are always shifting, that our culture can find many different expressions, but one truth remains unchanged: It is the sacredness of our country that drives us, the sacredness of Tjukurpa (all-encompassing lore, culture and ceremony) that keeps our storylines animated and brings our art alive. This piece celebrates the sacredness of kapi (water): many of our storylines are woven around kapi, kapi connects us, connects our Tjukurpa sites, reminds us that everything is equally nourishing and destructive. It's a balance, napartji-napartji'
This artwork will be on display in the 2023 Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize Finalist Exhibition from Saturday 25 November 2023 until Sunday 18 February 2024.
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