Angkaliya Curtis | Artist Profile

Details of Angkaliya Curtis


Angkaliya was born in 1928 at Miti in the South Australian Pitjantjatjara Lands. When she was small she travelled with her mother to Watarru (her mother's country). The family at Ernabella Mission and cattle station properties exchanging animal skins (dingoes and rabbits). they hunted for flour and sugar. She married and lived at Ernabella where she worked in the craft room spinning wool and making rugs. In the 1960's she moved closer to her traditional homeland when the community Amata began. Today she lives and works at Nyapari Community.

Angkaliya lived a semi-nomadic lifestyle often walking long distances in the desert where traditional knowledge of the country, it's waterholes and food supplies, are vital to survival. She learned from her mother and grandmother the secrets of the land and acquired an intimate understanding of the environment and the ancestral creation stories associated with it.

When Angkaliya was a young girl she learned about traditional foods and their preparation from the older women around her. She gathered foods such as ili (native fig), kampurarpa (desert raisins), tjala (honey ants), maku (witchetty grubs), ngintaka (perentie goanna), tjati (edible lizard) and anumara (edible caterpillars). She also knew about minkulpa (native tobacco) and other plants with medicinal properties. She gathered Irmangka-Irmankga grinding the small sticky leaf od the native eremophila and mixing it with emu fat to make a poultice for muscular aches and pains. She learned what seed to collect to grind to a flour to make into small cakes cooked in the hot ashes from the fire. She made wiltjas (simple dwellings - shade structures from branches), yuu (windbreaks), and carved utensils from local trees such as wana (wooden digging stick) and piti (collecting bowls). She read the desert sands for tracks and hunted small animals. She spun hair on a hand made spindle for ceremonial belts and manguri (woven head rings).

Art and craft are atill important to Angkaliya and she maintains a prolific weaving and artifact production. Her camp is scattered with discarded raffia and spinifex from the tjanpi baskets she has made. These textured baskets and wooden carvings are distinctive in their unique quirkiness, a quality she also brings to her paintings.

Angkaliya's paintings have a unique quality. A scattering of animals, plants and people drawn with a finely detailed line work. The representation of rockholes, creeks and other topographical elements are interspersed with people and animals going about their daily activities.

Acrylic on canvas
Spinifex Baskets 'Tjanpi'
Wooden Carvings 'Punu'

Animal Tjuta

2010 - 'Intangibles in Terra Australis', Sala kubo-kutxa in association with Marshall Arts, San Sebastian, Spain
2010 - 'Partnerships', Marshall Arts, Adelaide, SA
2010 - 'Senior Artists - Important New Works', Randell Lane Fine Art, Perth, WA
2010 - 'Tjukurpa Pulkatjara: The Power of the Law', South Australian Museum, Adelaide, SA
2010 - 'Raft Launch', Raft Artspace, Alice Springs, NT
2009 - 'Kulini Ngura - KNowing Country', Short St Gallery, Broome, WA
2009 - 'Wanapiku Munu Kalayaku Ngura', Chapman Gallery, Canberra, ACT
2009 - 'Tali Tjintiri - Tjintiri Munu Kapi Tjukula', Tjungu Palya Print Show, Nomad Gallery, Refection Room, Holiday Inn, Darwin, NT
2009 - 'Desert Mob', Araluen Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
2008 - 'Manta Nyangatja Pitjanjatjara', Short St Gallery, Broome, WA
2008 - 'Tjukurpa Kutjupa Kutjupa Tjuta', Aboriginal and Pacific Arts, SYdney, NSW
2008 - 'Women's Show', Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
2008 - 'Tjukurpa Kunpu', Marshall Arts, Adelaide, SA
2008 - 'Iwara Mantangka - Land Lines', Randell Lane Fine Art, Perth, WA
2007 - 'Desert Mob', Araluen Gallery, Alice Springs, NT
2007 - 'Uwankara Ngura Palya', Randell Lane Fine Art, Perth, WA

Marshall Collection
Lagerberg-Swift Collection
Harriet & Richard England Collection
Australian National University
National Gallery of Victoria
National Gallery of Australia

2010 - 'Tjukurpa Pulkatjara: The Power of the Law', exhibition catalogue, Ananguku Arts Wakefield Press, p. 42, 43
2010 - IAD Press, Julurpa Calendar, July - Internal image, Ngintaka
2009 - Rothwell, Nicholas. "Painting the Song of the Land', The Australian, 11 Sept 2009
2009 - Rothwell, Nicholas, 'Shifting Strands of the Desert', The Australian, 8 Sept 2009
2009 - Guide to Aboriginal Art Centres, Australian Art Collector, p. 43
2009 - Cruthers, John, 'Tjukurpa Mantataja - Stories from the Land', Australian Aboriginal Art, Issue 1. March 2009
2007 - Ogilvy, Charly. 'Tradition and Exploration Mix in Joy of Contemporary Indigenous Art', The Canberra Times, 25 October 2007

Artworks of Angkaliya Curtis