Art, Culture, Country

Partnering with remote Indigenous Art Centres to deliver a landmark digital project that empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to create and share unique arts and cultural experiences with the world.


Art, Culture, Country

Partnering with remote Indigenous Art Centres to deliver a landmark digital project that empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to create and share unique arts and cultural experiences with the world.

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Art Centres

Ernabella Arts

Ernabella Arts is an Aboriginal owned and run corporation which promotes and supports ethical practice in the creation and sale of Indigenous art.

Established in 1948, it is Australia’s oldest, continuously running Indigenous Art Centre. Situated in Pukatja Community, at the eastern end of the Musgrave Ranges in the far north west of South Australia, Ernabella Arts resides in what was the first permanent settlement on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands).

The centre’s inimitable reputation lies in the adaptability and innovation of the artists whom today are a mix of young and old, men and women. The members of Ernabella Arts are always reinvigorating their centre, seeing it through its evolution from the first incarnation as a craft room, into a culturally strong contemporary art centre.

1 Kaly Crescent, Pukatja, South Australia 0872

Featured Artists

Born: 1951

Region: Mimili

Rupert Jack is a senior Pitjantjatjara artist at Ernabella Arts working between the painting and ceramics studios. He is also the community pastor. He lives between his homeland, a place named Racecourse, and Ernabella (Pukatja) community. He is renowned for his striking hand-built forms that speak of his country, law and faith. His work depicts the maku (witchetty grub), tjala (honey ants), ili (bush fig), kaltu kaltu (bush seed that is ground into a flour to make a kind of damper and also Rupert’s father’s name) and ngata (bush berry) dreamings, as well as biblical stories of Moses and Abraham. Mr Jack is informed by his knowledge of both traditional stories and the bible his work often draws connections between the two. Interestingly he employs the same visual language and iconography to depict both themes.

Born: 1983

Region: Hermannsburg, NT

Natasha is in the early stages of her artistic career. Her uncle is the internationally renowned artist Kunmanara Jangala Carroll (dec). Natasha was born in Hermannsburg, NT and she went to school in Alice Springs. She often tells stories of going fishing and swimming in Hermannsburg. She moved to Ernabella as a young adult to be closer to family, and she now has a young son. As well as developing her art practise, Natasha is an Arts Worker at Ernabella Arts, and has opportunities to travel to attend events and workshops. Natasha’s narrative style of painting depicts community life with a quirky spin. She often paints on number plates and creates Toyota-shaped ceramic wall pieces.

Born: 1963

Region: Pukatja, SA

Imitjala Pantjiti Lewis was born in 1963 in the community which was then known as Ernabella Mission and is now known as Pukatja Community. She attended school in Ernabella. She is a full-time health worker at Ernabella clinic. She began work with the health service on graduating in high school in 1983. She married shortly after this. She is sister to leading Ernabella ceramic artist, Alison Milyika Carroll. Imitjala Pantjiti’s works often depict the minyma kutjarra tjukurpa (two women/sisters story), the Malilanya tjukurpa, the kipara munu kalaya tjukurpa (bush turkey and emu story) and the Kungkarangakalpa tjukurpa (Seven Sisters story). Imitjala Pantjiti is deeply involved in women’s law and ceremony and has a leading role in the Nintintjaku Project (an Ernabella Arts cultural teaching project).

Born: 1959

Region: Near Docker River, NT

Margaret is a senior painter working at Ernabella Arts. Her vibrant, intricate paintings of country and landscape mirror her exuberant personality. She holds deep knowledge of culture. She spends her weekends collecting honey ants and witchetty grubs with her grandchildren on nearby homelands. Margaret was born in her father’s country at Haasts Bluff, and later moved to Papunya when the new settlement was created there. She went to school in Papunya before moving to Areyonga with her family. She finished school there and then went to Darwin for twelve years and trained as a nurse. She returned to Alice Springs and reunited with family. She then moved to her mother’s country in Pukatja (Ernabella) with her brother, senior artist, Kunmanara Jangala Carroll. She later married in Ernabella and now has six grandchildren.

Born: 1987

Region: Pukatja, SA

Janice Stanley is the third generation of Stanley women to create artwork at Ernabella Arts. She is an early career painter and ceramic artist showing great promise. Her grandmother is founding artist and traditional healer Tjariya Stanley and her aunts are senior artists, Alison Milyika Carroll and Renita Stanley. She is part of a group of young women leading the Ernabella ceramics studio, despite only commencing work in late 2015. Janice has two small children.

Born: 1947

Region: Atilla, SA

Tjunkaya Tapaya OAM grew up at the Ernabella Mission. In mission days, the building which is now the art centre was originally used as a food hall by the missionaries. In 1948 it became the Craft Room, where the first work was by women, spinning wool and rug making. Most of the senior artists painting on the APY Lands today have passed through this building across more than one of its incarnations. Tjunkaya began work in the Craft Room making weavings, later excelling in the medium of batik, and became one of the outstanding artists with work in several public collections. Tjunkaya also works in ceramics, tjanpi, punu, print making, spinning and mukata making and her work in these mediums has been seen in numerous exhibitions in Australia and internationally since 1971, in public and private galleries. Her works are held in many national and international collections, including the National Museum of Scotland, National Museum of Australia, National Gallery of Australia and the Museum of Ethnology, Osaka.

Born: 1950

Region: Black Hill No. 2, SA

Carlene Thompson is a senior artist at Ernabella Arts in the Pukatja community of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in north-west South Australia. She started painting in 2007 and several years later discovered ceramics though the art centre, which has a strong background in engaging with the medium. Thompson’s unique style quickly gained attraction both nationally and internationally, with the artist twice being a finalist in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award. The kalaya (emu) dreaming coming from her father’s country and is often represents in her works along with Kipara munu Kalaya Tjukurpa (the story of emu and bush turkey) and Tjulpu (birds). Thompson has always been strongly connected to culture along with her late husband, Kunmanara (Kawaki) Thompson OAM, who was highly regarded senior Pitjantjatjara man and played a major role in the Land Rights Movement. Participating in cultural ceremonies is extremely important to Thompson and she makes a strong effort to pass down traditional knowledge to her daughters.

Born: 1986

Region: Pukatja, SA

Anne Thompson is an emerging artist at Ernabella Arts and is the daughter of Carlene Thompson. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Thompson has been making ceramics since high school, and has continued working in the Ernabella Arts ceramic studio between media projects. In 2014, Thompson received the Indigenous Ceramic Art Award from the Shepparton Art Museum and her work was acquired for their collection. Thompson is also passionate about jewellery and in 2014 completed a two-week intensive workshop at Ernabella Arts with Melbourne-based resin artist Kate Rohde, with outcomes were presented at JamFactory as a part of Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in 2015.

Born: 1967

Region: Pukatja, SA

Rachael is the third of four generations of Lionel women to work at Ernabella. Rachael began painting at Ernabella Arts in 2006. She paints the messages and stories she receives through her dreams. She has four children, one of whom is also an emerging ceramic artist, Vennita Lionel. Rachael was shortlisted for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in 2016, and in 2018 she was highly commended in the John Fries Award. She is a rising star of the Ernabella Arts painting and ceramics studios and a finalist in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards again in 2023. Her paintings have been exhibited in Brussels, the USA and around Australia including on Sydney, Darwin, Broome, Melbourne and in recent family exhibition at Short St Gallery featuring three generations of Lionel women.

A Project by Agency

UPLANDS is an immersive digital project that has been designed to celebrate Indigenous Art Centres and share Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artistic and cultural practices with the world.

This large scale immersive digital mapping project features over twenty remote Indigenous Art Centres, and interviews with over 150 Indigenous artists and arts workers from across the country.

UPLANDS is a project by Agency and has been funded by the Australian Government through the Restart to Invest, Sustain and Expand (RISE) program and the Indigenous Visual Art Industry Support (IVAIS) program.




Principal Partner

Government Partners

Project Partners

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Sovereign Custodians of the land on which we live and work. We extend our respects to their Ancestors and all First Nations peoples and Elders past, present, and future.