This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Yaritji Tingila Young Is Leading The Way For The Next Generation Of Indigenous Artists

Art

Yaritji Tingila Young’s award-winning artwork is immediately captivating. She is a leader and director of Tjala Arts, an Aboriginal owned and governed business where truly incredible work is created. Stories and culture are passed down to the next generation here, and artists are able to generate income on their own terms. It’s such an important place for the community, and Yaritji Tingila is a huge part of that.

Last year we made a mistake when referencing Yaritji Tingila in a previous article, incorrectly linking her with what we now know to be an unethical gallery. It was a careless error, but one that impacted Yaritji Tingila and her community greatly. Today, we seek to correct this, by learning more about the artist, her family, and the incredible art centre that she has helped build into a thriving community space and enterprise, on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia.

4th March, 2020

Artwork by Yaritji Tingila Young.

Artwork by Yaritji Tingila Young.

Yaritji Tingila Young with family, community and her artwork.

Artwork by Yaritji Tingila Young.

Artwork by Yaritji Tingila Young.

Sally Tabart
Wednesday 4th March 2020

‘My paintings are of my country; my father’s country, my grandmother’s country, the Tjala country. Everything that my grandmother taught me, I’m teaching to my grandchildren now.’ – Yaritji Tingila Young.

I’ve learned a lot when I’ve had the opportunity to cover Indigenous art over the last few years. Sometimes (more often than not) I feel like I can’t do it. It is uncomfortable to me that on one side of the country there are incredible artists creating deeply important artwork imbued with thousands of generations of history, culture and spirituality. And here I am thousands of kilometres away – both physically and metaphorically – attempting to communicate the impact that I can’t possibly understand. I’ve tried my best but made some mistakes along the way. One of them was in relation to the artist we’re profiling today.

Yaritji Tingila Young is a highly respected artist and community leader living and creating on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the remote North West of South Australia. An incorrect link to an unethical Indigenous art page was accidentally associated with her name in a previous story I wrote, which led to distress for her and her family. I understand why. Yaritji Tingila is a mother and a caretaker. She is an artist and a teacher. As a senior law woman in her community, Yaritji Tingila is committed to fostering law and culture, keeping stories and traditions alive.

Yaritji Tingila is a director and leader of her art centre, the Aboriginal owned and managed Tjala Arts, located in the heart of the community. It’s a place where ‘young and old paint side by side’, she says, where culture and stories are passed down to the next generation. It’s a source of great pride, industry and connection for Yaritji Tingila, her family and her community.

A Pitjantjatjara woman and widely celebrated painter, Yaritji Tingila was born c.1954 in Ernabella, South Australia. She’s has been painting at Tjala Arts in far north-west South Australia on the APY Lands, where she lives 120km south of Uluru in the township of Amata, since the early 2000s. Here, she paints the story of the Tjala – the Honey Ant – found a metre underground in the area, bulging with sacks of honey at their rear, their purposeful journey brightly illuminated in tunnels entwined with rock holes and landmarks of her country on Yaritji Tingila’s canvas. They are the emblems of the Amata region’s creation story.

‘My paintings are of my country; my father’s country, my grandmother’s country, the Tjala country. Everything that my grandmother taught me, I’m teaching to my grandchildren now.’ tells Yaritji Tingila. ‘That’s how I became a good artist because I was watching my grandmother.’

There were nine kids in Yaritji Tingila’s family growing up. Her father Mick Wikilyiri, uncle and grandfather were stockmen, as well as her mother Paniny. ‘She used to ride a horse and do stock work as a stock-lady’, Yaritji Tingila remembers. ‘She was the only woman riding those horses and mustering.’

Many members of Yaritji Tingila’s family come together at Tjala Arts. Her father Mick is a highly respected painter in his own right, and in 2016, Yaritji Tingila and her sisters – Tjungkara Ken, Freda Brady, Maringka Tunkin and Sandra Ken – won the Wynne Prize for their collaborative painting at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Family and community are everything to Yaritji. As well as her own three kids, Anthony, Valerie, and Chrissy, she has helped raise many others – ‘it’s Anangu way to grow up other people’s kids when they can’t’, she says. ‘The young people are still ninti (knowledgeable) and our family will keep strong, because I’m still working on it before I go. The young people need to not only work well, but our culture has to be strong too.’

Every year since 2017 Yaritji Tingila has held sell-out solo exhibitions at Alcaston Gallery, where she is represented in Melbourne. Famed gallerist Tim Olsen of Olsen Gallery represents her in Sydney. She’s exhibited in dozens of group shows since the year 2000, has been a finalist in both the Wynne Prize and Telstra Prize three times respectively (not including the year she won the Wynne), and her art is held in major collections around Australia including at Artbank, GOMA, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the National Gallery of Victoria. She recently finished a massive mural – the largest scale work made to date in the region. And it all comes back to Tjala Arts.

‘This art centre is our business, we have watched it grow strong and are proud of what we have created. When you support us and work with galleries that support the art centres, you are supporting our business and our communities and making sure that they around for generations to come.’

Yaritji Tingila Young is represented by Alcaston Gallery in Melbourne and Olsen Gallery in Sydney. Learn more about Tjala Arts via their website and keep up with the artists via their Instagram

This Week

Homes

A Cheerful Beachside Retreat

Virginia Morris' colourful 1980s Anglesea home, located just 100 steps from the beach!

Gardens

A Modernist Front Garden On Sydney’s North Shore

In an extract from his new book 'The City Gardener', Richard Unsworth shares the Mid-Century Modern garden designed by his practice, Garden
Richard Unsworth
  Less than an hour ago

Shopping

The New Ceramics Studio Built On Centuries Of Inherited Knowledge

The debut collection from new ceramics studio House Editions by Claudia Lau brings porcelain bowls, plates and vases in experimental glazes

Interiors

An Elevated Take On Old Meets New

A 1950s Brisbane house meets a new addition by designers Wrightson Stewart and architect Barbara Bailey, connected by a transparent breezewa...
Amelia Barnes
  24 hours ago

Interiors

A Curvaceous + Calm Edwardian Home Renovation

Working within the exisiting footprint, CJH Studio transformed this Melbourne home with smart planning and minimalist interiors.

Creative People

The Trailblazing Couple Behind Brisbane's New Indigenous Art Centre

Amanda Hayman and Troy Casey are the entrepreneurial couple behind Brisbane's most exciting new art gallery and retail space!

Shopping

A Childrenswear Label That Takes Us Back To The Golden Years - WIN With Goldie + Ace!

Get ready to send the kids back to school in style with the Golden Years collection from Goldie + Ace!

Architecture

A Minimalist, Semi-Prefabricated Beach House

Architect Hannah Tribe of Tribe Studio developed a prototype for a partially prefabricated kit home for her own family beach house in Bundee...

On The Market

A Perfectly Preserved Mid-Century Marvel On The Banks Of The Yarra Is On The Market

This architecturally-designed house was built in the 60s and has barely changed since it was last sold in 1968. Did someone say dream home?
Sasha Gattermayr
  8 hours ago
36.05

Podcast

Dinosaur Designs Co-Founder Louise Olsen On Building An Iconic Australian Brand, On TDF Talks

Lucy Feagins talks to the legendary designer and artist about building an iconic Australian design brand.

Architecture

An Elwood Bungalow That Draws From Within

A innovative extension around a circular garden creates an inward focus to this California bungalow extension by Rob Kennon Architects.
2.37

Interiors

YSG Studio Brings 'Afternoon Delight' To This Dreamy Kitchen Design for Laminex

We take a closer look at YSG Studio's stunning new collaboration with Laminex!

Interiors

The Timeless Update Of A 1950s Portsea Beach House

Pipkorn Kilpatrick improve the flow and functionality of this 1956 home originally designed by Robin Boyd, ensuring its legacy remains in ta...

News

A Lifetime Of Mim Design Projects In One Book!

‘Works’ is a tome celebrating 21 years of Miriam Fanning’s sophisticated interiors + architecture practice.
Sasha Aarons

Architecture

A Grecian-Inspired Update For A California Bungalow

Alcorn Middleton update a 1980s family home with arches, white-washed columns and a inspired by quintessential Santorini architecture.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Art

A New Indigenous Owned and Operated Art Gallery That Gives Back To Its Community

This new gallery, studio and workshop space for Anungu artists in Adelaide takes the indigenous owned APY Galleries to a whole new level.

Art

Painting Birdsong With Nyangulya Katie Nalgood

The bright and brilliant exhibition ‘Jalmarra-jarti, All the birds have wings’ at Paul Johnstone Gallery, Darwin.
Miriam McGarry

Art

Meet The Next Generation Of Artists From Maningrida, NT

Young artists Kenan Namunjdja and Rosina Gunjarrwanga are front and centre of the MCA's prestigious Primavera 2019 exhibition, on now in Syd...

This Week

Interiors

The Timeless Update Of A 1950s Portsea Beach House

Pipkorn Kilpatrick improve the flow and functionality of this 1956 home originally designed by Robin Boyd, ensuring its legacy remains in ta...

Shopping

The New Ceramics Studio Built On Centuries Of Inherited Knowledge

The debut collection from new ceramics studio House Editions by Claudia Lau brings porcelain bowls, plates and vases in experimental glazes

Shopping

A Childrenswear Label That Takes Us Back To The Golden Years - WIN With Goldie + Ace!

Get ready to send the kids back to school in style with the Golden Years collection from Goldie + Ace!

Interiors

An Elevated Take On Old Meets New

A 1950s Brisbane house meets a new addition by designers Wrightson Stewart and architect Barbara Bailey, connected by a transparent breezewa...
Amelia Barnes
  24 hours ago

Interiors

A Curvaceous + Calm Edwardian Home Renovation

Working within the exisiting footprint, CJH Studio transformed this Melbourne home with smart planning and minimalist interiors.

Architecture

A Minimalist, Semi-Prefabricated Beach House

Architect Hannah Tribe of Tribe Studio developed a prototype for a partially prefabricated kit home for her own family beach house in Bundee...

Homes

A Cheerful Beachside Retreat

Virginia Morris' colourful 1980s Anglesea home, located just 100 steps from the beach!

Gardens

A Modernist Front Garden On Sydney’s North Shore

In an extract from his new book 'The City Gardener', Richard Unsworth shares the Mid-Century Modern garden designed by his practice, Garden
Richard Unsworth
  Less than an hour ago

Architecture

An Elwood Bungalow That Draws From Within

A innovative extension around a circular garden creates an inward focus to this California bungalow extension by Rob Kennon Architects.

On The Market

A Perfectly Preserved Mid-Century Marvel On The Banks Of The Yarra Is On The Market

This architecturally-designed house was built in the 60s and has barely changed since it was last sold in 1968. Did someone say dream home?
Sasha Gattermayr
  8 hours ago

News

A Lifetime Of Mim Design Projects In One Book!

‘Works’ is a tome celebrating 21 years of Miriam Fanning’s sophisticated interiors + architecture practice.
Sasha Aarons
36.05

Podcast

Dinosaur Designs Co-Founder Louise Olsen On Building An Iconic Australian Brand, On TDF Talks

Lucy Feagins talks to the legendary designer and artist about building an iconic Australian design brand.
2.37

Interiors

YSG Studio Brings 'Afternoon Delight' To This Dreamy Kitchen Design for Laminex

We take a closer look at YSG Studio's stunning new collaboration with Laminex!

Architecture

A Grecian-Inspired Update For A California Bungalow

Alcorn Middleton update a 1980s family home with arches, white-washed columns and a inspired by quintessential Santorini architecture.

Creative People

The Trailblazing Couple Behind Brisbane's New Indigenous Art Centre

Amanda Hayman and Troy Casey are the entrepreneurial couple behind Brisbane's most exciting new art gallery and retail space!

Similar Stories

Art

A New Indigenous Owned and Operated Art Gallery That Gives Back To Its Community

This gallery, studio and workshop space in Adelaide takes the APY Galleries to a whole new level.

Art

Painting Birdsong With Nyangulya Katie Nalgood

The bright and brilliant exhibition ‘Jalmarra-jarti, All the birds have wings’ at Paul Johnstone Gallery, Darwin.
Miriam McGarry

Art

Meet The Next Generation Of Artists From Maningrida, NT

Young artists Kenan Namunjdja and Rosina Gunjarrwanga are front and centre of the MCA's prestigious Primavera 2019 exhibition, on now in Syd...

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.