Peter Mungkuri_2015_167x243cm_WEB.jpg

Ngura (Country)

acrylic on canvas
167 x 243 cm
© The artist and Iwantja Arts

In Pitjantjatjara language, the word Ngura is a definition for the physical geography of land and country. However Ngura has a more richly imbedded meaning as a place to which someone belongs; defining where an individual comes from, family connections, skin groups, and language.

Paintings of Ngura often portray personal stories and memories of country that is personal to the artist. Iconography of significant elements within the desert landscape such as rock holes, underground springs, mountain and rock formations, and sacred sites are meticulously recorded from memory, and often depicted from an aerial perspective.

Peter explains: “I was born in the bush near Mimili, me and my mum and father had no clothes, and were living traditional way. One time some fella came with cattle for branding; that wati (man) was the first white person I ever saw. I never went to school, my school was riding horses, learning to brand and break them in. All us tjilpi (old men) used to be stockmen, we went everywhere working together; Mimili, Kenmore Park, Granite Downs, all over the place, every station; we had a good time working and didn’t worry about other things. We had a whole herd of horses, back then we were all cowboys. These things, and everything here, is my memory – my knowledge, I like to paint the memories of my country.”

Peter Mungkuri_portrait_WEB.jpg

Peter Mungkuri

Born: 1946 near Mimili SA
Pitjantjatjara language group
Art Centre: Iwantja Arts, Indulkana SA

Like many other older artists working at Iwantja Arts, Peter worked as a stockman across the Lands. In his paintings he maps the land and his knowledge of country, drawing from his memories.

In recent years, his paintings have become well known for their large expanses of reds and orange across a detailed surface. He has exhibited extensively in Australia and was recently included in Tarnanthi: the inaugural Festival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art held in Adelaide in 2015.

These things, and everything here, is my memory – my knowledge, I like to paint the memories of my country.
— Peter Mungkuri