Ruby Tjangawa Williamson

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Ruby Williamson
Ruby Tjangawa Williamson

c. 1940
Years active2000 – present
OrganizationTjala Arts
StyleWestern Desert art
Wood carvings

Ruby Tjangawa Williamson is a Pitjantjatjara artist from Amaṯa, in central Australia. She makes acrylic paintings and traditional wood carvings, and is one of the most successful artists from the region.[1][2] Her paintings have attracted critical acclaim for her unusually modern style. Ruby paints sacred stories from the Dreamtime that have morals or lessons from her people's traditional law. She uses the typical style of the Western Desert, but the techniques and imagery are more modern. Her style is said to be experimental.[3]

Ruby is a member of the Pitjantjatjara nation. She was born about 1940,[7] at a sacred site near Kata Ala, Western Australia. She grew up with her family in the bushland along the western side of the border with South Australia. Her family spent most of their time travelling between her father's homeland near Pukara and her mother's around Mantamaru. When Ruby was a teenager, they followed other Pitjantjatjara families to settle at Ernabella, far to the east. Ruby grew up and went to school at the mission there until she got married.[3]

Ruby's husband was a stockman whose family came from what is now Amaṯa, west of Ernabella. After they got married, they moved north to Areyonga, where he worked on the cattle station. They later moved back to his homeland, where he got a job on the Musgrave Park station. They had five children together, before her husband died in his early 40s.[3][8]

In 1999, the senior women of Amaṯa, including Ruby, founded Minymaku Arts (it is now called Tjala Arts).[3] Ruby began working there herself in 2000.[1] Her first solo exhibitions were in Hobart in 2003 and 2005, and then in Melbourne in 2008.[2] Her artwork has been shown alongside works by other Tjala artists in every major city in Australia.[3][8] She has also had her work shown in group exhibitions in Singapore and the United States.[8] Her work is held in the National Gallery of Victoria,[9] the Art Gallery of South Australia,[10] the Queensland Art Gallery,[1] the National Gallery of Australia,[6] and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.[3][8]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Amata painters". QAGOMA. Queensland Art Gallery. Archived from the original on 28 June 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Ruby Williamson: Desert Ruby". Australian Art Collector. Gadfly Media (45): 158. July–September 2008. Archived from the original on 6 April 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Ananguku Arts, ed. (2010). Tjukurpa Pulkatjara: The Power of the Law. Wakefield Press. p. 58. ISBN 9781862548909.
  4. Gordon Darling Print Fund. "Ruby Williamson". Prints and Printmaking. National Gallery of Australia. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  5. Staff writer (19 November 2010). "Conference: AAANZ Adelaide 2010". Melbourne Art Network. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Williamson, Ruby". Collection Online. National Gallery of Australia. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  7. The exact year of Ruby's birth is not known. Most sources estimate that it is around 1940.[4][5] The National Gallery of Australia puts it between 1938 and 1942.[6]
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 "Details of Ruby Tjangawa Williamson". Short Street Gallery. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  9. "Ruby Tjangawa Williamson". Collection Online. National Gallery of Victoria. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  10. "Williamson, Ruby Tjangawa". Art Gallery of South Australia. Retrieved 3 November 2012.

More reading[change | change source]