NPY Women’s Council and Tjanpi Desert Weavers are proud to announce the acquisition by Australian Parliament House of Niningka Lewis’ artwork Australian Coat of Arms: We were there and we are here.
The artwork, which was recently on display at Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin as a finalist in the 2018 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, will now become part of the Parliament House Art Collection in Canberra.
Ms Lewis is a senior artist from Pukatja (Ernabella) on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands of South Australia. Since Tjanpi’s inception in 1995 she has been a pioneering weaver and sculptor and is also an acclaimed punu (wood carving) artist and painter.
Ms Lewis said: “This work represents Tjukurpa (the foundation of Anangu life and society) and Nguraritja (sovereignty and traditional ownership), strength of culture, and the abundance of landscape which has nurtured and sustained us since ancient times. It also reflects on Anangu youth experiencing jail brutality, and demands that we, the original people of this land, be treated with respect.”
Acting Director, Parliament House Art Collection, Ms Samantha Pollock, said Parliament House was proud to welcome the artwork Australian Coat of Arms into the national collection.
“It is a remarkable work by Niningka Lewis,” Ms Pollock said, “and an ideal addition to our collection that proudly showcases the best of Australian art and artists, including more than 600 works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from every state or territory.”
The artwork is expected to go on public display at Parliament House, Canberra as part of the 2019 exhibition program.