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Wenten Rubuntja (c. 1923-2005)

Yeperenye Dreaming c. 2000

40.1 x 50.5 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 407864

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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  • Wenten Rubuntja was an Australian artist and Aboriginal land rights activist from the town of Mparntwe (also known as Alice Springs) in the Northern Territory, who belonged to the indigenous Arrernte people. He was inspired to start painting in the 1950s by his uncle, renowned indigenous Australian artist Albert Namatjira. Rubuntja's work focused on the landscapes and traditions of Mparntwe and often considered themes of identity and Dreaming. He explained: "The landscape painting is the country itself, with tywerrenge [sacred objects] himself. Tywerrenge and songs come out of the body of the country. […] That stone, that mountain has got Dreaming. We sing that one, we've got the song." Rubuntja worked in both the more figurative watercolour style popularised by Namatjira in the 1930s, and the more abstracted 'dot painting' style developed in the nearby town of Papunya in the 1970s, which was derived from sand and body painting.

    This painting, in the more abstracted of Rubuntja's two main styles, takes as its theme the story of Mparntwe's creation, as told by the Arrernte people. Caterpillars known as Yeperenye are considered the creative ancestors of Mparntwe, responsible for producing its sacred sites and geographical features by holding rituals in certain places as they travelled around. Rubuntja represents the trails left by the caterpillars and the patterns of their rituals as small coloured dots across the surface of the painting.
    Provenance

    Presented to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh on their visit to Alice Springs, 30th March 2000, by Chief Minister Hon Denis Burke and all Territorians, Northern Territory, Australia

  • Medium and techniques
    Measurements

    40.1 x 50.5 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external)

    67.0 x 74.4 x 2.0 cm (frame, external)

  • Category
    Object type(s)