The story of Magpie Goose X Ikuntji Artists collaboration
We launched the Ikuntji x Magpie Goose collection in December 2019 - it is now online for you to enjoy! We've featured designs from five internationally renowned Ikuntji Artists, who are represented in galleries and institutions around the world.
Ikuntji Artists is based in Haasts Bluff, 300km South West of Alice Springs. It has a closely linked artistic history with Papunya Tula artists, in neighbouring Papuna community. Both art centres are nestled amongst the beautiful West MacDonnell Ranges, and celebrate the stories of the Western Desert.
Ikuntji Artists are famous for bold colour choice, decisive brush strokes, and rich cultural storytelling. The artworks translate so well to clothing - we know you're going to love them all!
In this post we share an overview of the designs, and the backstory to the collaboration!
These things take time...
The idea for this collection was born two and a half years ago at Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) in August 2017, where we met the Ikuntji Artists crew and fell in love with their amazing prints (so many great connections made at DAAF - you really need to put it in your calendar for an annual art + culture pilgrimage!)
We started dreaming about what we could do together, and a year later travelled to Haasts Bluff (Ikuntji), a few hours West of Alice Springs to meet the artists + select some designs!
Ikuntji Arts Centre Manager Dr Chrischona Schmidt and Magpie Goose co-founder Maggie McGowan talk to Ikuntji Artist Alice Nampitjinpa Dixon - 2018
Ikuntji Artist Keturah Zimran with her Puli Puli design, which was initially created as a t'shirt size screen
Textile master Tim Growcott had been out helping artists transform their artwork onto t'shirt screens; so we enlisted our graphic designer whiz Millie to help digitalise and fill out the larger screens for yardage printing! We mocked up colourways, ran these by the artists, ordered a selection of lush linens and cottons, and Publisher textiles got cracking on printing over 1500m!
Shooting the collection - Jira models
We loved working with Obby - Banuba woman from Fitzroy Crossing - to shoot the Ikuntji collection in Melbourne! Obby works with Jira Models, which was founded by Perina Drummond who wanted to create new career pathways for Aboriginal + Torres Strait Islander people, after her own experiences in the industry as a model and stylist. First photos were snapped by Sarah Mackie, and second lot by Tobias Titz - who has a longstanding relationship with Ikuntji Artists, and knows and loves all the artists + designs!
Meet the artists
Alice Nampitjinpa Dixon is a Luritja and Pintupi artist (born in 1943). She is a very special senior woman in Haasts Bluff community. Her father was one of the founding members of Papunya Tula art movement; and he passed on his many talents and stories to Alice. We are very excited be be showcasing three of Alice's beautiful designs - Tali Tali, Watiya Tjuta at Talaalpi, and Tjilkamata Rockhole - which tell stories from her country where she was born - Talaalpi - east of Walungurru on the Western Australia / Northern Territory border.
Mitjili Napurrula was born in Papunya in 1945, and has sadly recently passed away. We are grateful to Mitjili for agreeing to this collaboration before she passed, and to her family for supporting the continued collaboration. Mitjili's beautiful Watiya Tjuta print looks amazing on green linen, and tells the story of her father's Tjikurrpa the ceremonial spear straightening in Uwalkari country (Gibson desert region). Spears are made from the Watiya Tjuta (acacia tree) which grow in this country.
Mavis Nampitjinpa Marks' Women's Business design - which depicts the ceremonial body painting for women's dances- has come up so beautifully as a repeat print. Mavis' returned to Haasts Bluff and Ikuntji Artists after living in Mt Liebig for many years, when her husband died. Like most Ikuntji Artists, she comes from a very talented artistic family.
Keturah Zimran is a talented artist from the next generation of Ikuntji Artists, and beautifully depicts the rocks - Puli Puli - that surround Haasts Bluff community. She has been given special permissions by her grandmother and mother to paint their country and stories.
Finally, Eunice Napanangka Jack is a world renowned artist who is widely celebrated and collected. We are very excited to be featuring two of her designs - both depicting her country at Kuruyultu, near Tjukurrla in WA (where she was born). Her family walked in from this country to the settlement at Haasts Bluff. "I have been back to Kuruyultu for visits but I never lived there again in my country. I think about it every day."
We hope you enjoy exploring this collection - it's one of our favourites!
- Team MG.