December 8, 2023 to April 7, 2024

REVISIONS

made by the Warlpiri of Central Australia and Patrick Waterhouse

The exhibition REVISIONS has been nominated by the Cologne Culture Prize jury for the 14th Cologne Culture Prize in the category "Cultural Event of the Year 2023"! From Wednesday, April 3, a list of 10 nominated cultural events will be published for voting on the websites of the Kölnische Rundschau and the Kölner Stadtanzeiger. 

Vote here! We look forward to your vote!

 

»When white explorers created their maps, they dissected this land with arbitrary lines and imposed state borders. They didn't understand the diversity of nations and tribal people inhabiting this country. They did not know we had our own stories, songlines, boundaries, and nations. Ancient tribal stories criss-cross all over this continent, tracks of totems belonging to different clans and language groups of the land they called Australia. «

Otto Jungarrayi Sims - (Former Chairman of Warlukurlangu Artists)

Can art change our understanding of the past? Can we revise the documents that have informed history? How can Australian First Peoples reclaim interpretive authority through artistic means?

Over the past eight years, groups of Warlpiri artists in Central Australia, in collaboration with the British artist Patrick Waterhouse, have revised a collection of maps, flags, photographs, comic illustrations and other archival material. The resulting work amends assumptions inscribed through the old documents, includes information missing from the historical record, and gives voice to the stories, passed down from generation to generation, of the original custodians of the land.

The largest exhibition of this work to date, "REVISIONS made by Warlpiri of Central Australia and Patrick Waterhouse" opened at the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum (RJM) in Cologne on 8 December 2023. The exhibition was curated at the Warlukurlangu Art Centres in Yuendumu and Nyirripi. It includes already known works such as "Restricted Images" as well as new ones that deal directly with the RJM archive, among others, and shows the new two-channel video artwork "The True Story" for the first time.

Despite colonisation, the Warlpiri (language) groups have preserved an enduring philosophical worldview shaped by complex ceremonial traditions and artistic practices. In 2014, Patrick Waterhouse travelled to the Warlpiri area for the first time. He had been photographing in Central Australia since 2011 and had gradually acquired documents tracing Australia's colonial history. Waterhouse presented these photographs, along with archival material from museums and auction houses, to members of the Warlukurlangu Art Centres in the Yuendumu and Nyirippi communities. He invited them to rework the documents using the traditional Warlpiri technique of dot painting, which is practised by almost half of the community.

The artists, aged 16 to 90, applied layers of patterns and symbols to the documents based on their own histories and traditions. This process can be seen as defacement, a correction of what was there, or the revelation of something that had always been hidden beneath the surface. The resulting works confront Australia's colonial narrative with its Indigenous history, which began more than 50,000 years ago.

 

More info

Artists

The works in the exhibition were revised in the Warlukurlangu Art Centres in the Yuendumu and Nyirripi communities in the Australian state of Northern Territory, in collaboration with:Adrianna Nangala Egan, Agnes Nampijinpa Brown, Alma Nungarrayi Granites, Angelina Nampijinpa Tasman, Athena Nangala Granites, Cecily Napanangka Marshall, Chantelle Nampijinpa Robertson, Charmain Napangardi Granites, Delena Napaljarri Turner, Dorothy Napurrurla Dickson, Felicity Nampijinpa Robertson, Flora Nakamarra Brown, Geraldine Napangardi Granites, Hazel Nungarrayi Morris, Hilda Nakamarra Rogers, Jacob Jungarrayi Spencer, Jeanie Napangardi Lewis, Jessica Napanangka Lewis, Joy Nangala Brown, Judith Nungarrayi Martin, Julie Nangala Robertson, Juliette Nakamara Morris, Kirsten Nangala Egan, Kirsty Anne Napanangka Brown, Leah Nampijinpa Sampson, Lola Nampijinpa Brown, Lorraine Nungarrayi Granites, Madeleine Napangardi Dixon, Margaret Nangala Gallagher, Margaret Napangardi Lewis, Margie Napurrurla Leo, Marilyn Maria Nangala Turner, Marissa Napanangka Anderson, Mary Napangardi Brown, Melinda Napurrurla Wilson, Nathania Nangala Granites. Ormay Nangala Gallagher, Otto Jungarrayi Sims, Pauline Nampijinpa Singleton, Sabrina Napangardi Granites, Polly Anne Napangardi Dixon, Ruth Nungarrayi Spencer, Sabrina Nangala Robertson, Sarah Napaljarri Sims, Sarah Napurrurla Leo, Selma Napanangka Tasman, Shanna Napanangka Williams, Steven Jangala Hargraves, Tanya Nungarrayi Collins, Valda Napangardi Granites, Valerie Napanangka Marshall, Walter Jangala Brown, Watson Jangala Robertson, Wendy Nungarrayi Brown, Wilma Napangardi Poulson.

Curators
Warlpiri of Central Australia
Patrick Waterhouse

Project management
Dr. Oliver Lueb

Exhibition design
Marius Förster, operative.space

Graphic design
Marius Förster, operative.space

Sponsors
Landschaftsverband Rheinland (LVR)
Peter und Irene Ludwig Stiftung

Admission 6 euros, reduced 4 euros

Flyer

digital guide

 

Biografies of the artists‘ collective

WARLUKURLANGU ART CENTRE 

Warlukurlangu is named after a dreaming site west of Yuendumu; in Warlpiri language, it is “belonging to fire”. Warlukurlangu Artists is one of the oldest Aboriginal owned art centres in Central Australia. It was founded in 1985 in Yuendumu and is 290 kilometres northwest of Alice Springs. In 2014, another branch of the Art Centre was opened in Nyirripi, another Warlpiri community located 200 kilometres west of Yuendumu. Any person in the two communities of Yuendumu and Nyirripi can engage with the activities of the art centre.
Six artists installed the floor painting "Yarla Jukurrpa" (Bush Potato Dreaming), about 40 square metres in size, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 1989 for the exhibition "Magiciens de la terre".

Yuendumu is among the largest of the Aboriginal desert communities in Australia, with a population of between 800 and 1,000 people, almost all of whom belong to a single language group, the Warlpiri. Over half the population is estimated to make art and children are encouraged to start painting at an early age.

On the road to Yuendumu is the Yuendumu Men’s Museum, a stone building opened in 1971 as a place for ceremonial events and a home for objects and paintings. From 2006 to 2015, the Museum was restored with the help of the Warlukurlangu Art Centre and today constitutes an important repository of Warlpiri art and heritage.

Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation is directed by an Executive Committee of men and women representing Yuendumu community’s ‘skin groups’[1]. Executive Committee members are on site painting, attending to business and interacting with artists, staff and visitors every day. Artists actively participate in the ongoing development of the organisation with regular meetings being held at the art centre. Income from all artists goes towards social, economic, medical and heritage projects as well as mediating 'between the worlds' of peripheral Indigenous Australia and the dominant white and urban societies.

 

PATRICK WATERHOUSE

Patrick Waterhouse (b. 1981, England) is an artist who explores the shifting nature of our understanding of the past. Through processes that play with narrative representation, his work sheds light on the construction of history and its origins.

In 2008, Waterhouse began work on his renowned series Ponte City, made in collaboration with Mikhael Subotzky, in which the pair investigated the fifty-four storey cylindrical apartment building that towers over Johannesburg. Over six years they probed the varying perspectives of this icon – from its architecture to its urban legends – revealing new and alternative accounts of the building’s history.

Collaboration is integral to Waterhouse’s practice, informing and shaping the trajectory of his projects as the work forms through conversation and engagement with those represented and the communities in which they live.

In the making of Restricted Images, Waterhouse lived and worked with the Warlpiri communities of Yuendemu and Nyiripi over a five-year period, taking photographs and then inviting community members to restrict their images using traditional dot painting. By drawing people into the process of their representation, the project renegotiates notions of agency in photography and art.

Waterhouse’s work has been exhibited internationally in institutions including FotoMuseum, Antwerpen (2019); Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque (2018); Kunsthal, Rotterdam (2017); The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2016); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C (2015); The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2015); The National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh (2014); Le Bal, Paris (2014); Biennale de Lubumbashi, DR Congo (2013); The International Center of Photography Triennial, New York (2013); Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool (2012); The Museum für Gestaltung, Zürich (2011) and South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2010). His work is held in major public and private collections including Centre Pompidou, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York; The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C and The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany. Awards include the Discovery Award at Rencontres d‘Arles in 2011 and the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize in 2015 for Ponte City (with Mikhael Subotzky).


"Making REVISIONS" © Patrick Waterhouse

Programme:

Guided tours by the volunteers of the guided tours working group every Sunday at 2 pm (not on 24 Dec. and 31 Dec.)

On Sunday, 7 April, there will also be a guided tour at 12 noon and 4 pm.
Admission to the special exhibition

Guided tours by the museum service: Thursday, 14 December, 3 pm (seniors' meeting), Wednesday, 20 December, 4 pm, Wednesday, 17 January, 4 pm, Saturday, 17 February, 11 am, Thursday, 7 March, 5 pm, Wednesday, 20 March, 4 pm, Thursday, 4 April, 5 pm. Admission to special exhibition plus 2 euros tour fee


How can the history and diversity of Aboriginal people in Australia be retold using artistic means? In REVISIONS, artists from the Warlukurlangu Artists Centre in Central Australia, in collaboration with British artist Patrick Waterhouse, provide some answers to this question. In this guided tour you will learn more about the iconography of their paintings, the artistic positions and the process of this collaboration.

Thursday, 7.12., 7 p.m. Opening

Invitation

 

Friday, 8.12., 16-17.30 artists guided tour

During the opening weekend of the REVISIONS exhibition, part of the artist collective from the Warlukurlangu Artists Centre in Central Australia will be visiting Cologne. In this guided tour, they will give a first-hand account of their works as well as their significance and creative processes. Collection consultant Dr. Oliver Lueb will also be available to answer questions.

The visit will be in English and Warlpiri, with German translation.

 

Friday, 8.12., 6 pm Q&A with artists and Dr. Yasmine Musharbash

The artists and ethnologist Yasmine Musharbash will talk about Warlpiri-related topics.

Location: Library
Admission free

 

Saturday, 9.12., 11am-12.30pm and Sunday, 10 December, 11am-12.30pm
Painting workshop: mapping land and sharing culture
During the opening weekend of the REVISIONS exhibition, artists from the Warlukurlangu Artists Centre in Central Australia will visit Cologne to offer three painting workshops.
The painting workshops offer a unique opportunity to learn more about the icons, symbols and designs used in the paintings of Warlukurlangu artists to convey and share cultural knowledge. In Warlpiri painting, these symbols have been used for thousands of years and are still used today to map the land and pass on traditional knowledge. During the workshops, you will accompany the artists as they create their paintings. The Warlukurlangu artists will tell you about the stories their ancestors have passed down about their land and explain how these are depicted in their paintings. Under their guidance and using the basic designs and symbols, participants can create their own personal painting about their life and history.
The workshops are held in English and Warlpiri, with German translation.
The workshops are intergenerational. Adults and/or accompanied children are also welcome to participate.

Registration via the museum service

 

Thursday, 18.1., 6 p.m.

Insider tour REVISIONS
Dr Oliver Lueb, collection manager for Oceania and project manager of the exhibition, will give a guided tour of REVISIONS and report on the project process. Afterwards, the discussion can be continued over a glass of wine or water.
Museum Society members free, guests pay admission to the exhibition
Registration at info@rjmkoeln.de

 

Sunday, 21.1., 2-4 p.m. and Thursday, 7.3., 4-6 p.m.

Fauna and color kitchen: Open workshop of the Chorweiler youth workshop

Young people from the Chorweiler Youth Workshop use Warlpiri artistic means and techniques to draw attention to animal species threatened with extinction here in Germany. They invite museum visitors to make animal portraits equally unrecognizable and thus engage creatively with the fragile diversity of our local ecosystem. In the workshops, only natural pigments and natural binding agents are used, which are produced in advance in joint work.
Kitchen

 

Thursday, 1.2., 19-21 h

Film evening REVISIONS: Bush Mechanics (OmUeng)

Documentary series about the "Bush Mechanics", a group of Warlpiris who solve car problems with crazy and imaginative repair techniques on their travels through Central Australia.
Kitchen

 

Saturday, 3.2. and Saturday, 16.3. both 11-14 h

Photography workshop REVISIONS

Can photographic practice be questioned from a colonial perspective? Based on the photographic collection of the RJM and the exhibition, we will question the camera as an instrument of violence and resistance. In the practical part, we will try to implement the resulting ideas using various artistic methods such as collage and montage.
Kitchen


Sunday, 4.2., 1 p.m.

Online lecture "Monsters and Crises" by Dr. Yasmine Musharbash

The lecture is an introduction to the concept of monster anthropology and illustrates how an ethnographic focus on monsters opens up new perspectives on how we live with, go through and experience crises. The talk will focus on three monsters that haunt the Warlpiri people of Central Australia, each associated with three types of crisis.


Saturday, 24.2., 2-4 p.m.

Workshop for children aged 8 and over: Warlpiri art: stories in colour

Various symbols and icons have been used in Warlpiri painting for thousands of years to convey cultural knowledge across generations. During a tour of the special exhibition REVISIONS, you will learn more about the life and culture of the Warlpiri. Here you will learn how artists preserve stories and traditions with countless small, colourful dots. Then it's off to the workshop, where you will not only learn more about the symbols, icons and designs of Warlpiri painting in a painting workshop, but also put your own stories and creations on paper.
free of charge, registration via the museum service necessary

 

Thursday, 29.2., 6 pm

Artist Talk with Patrick Waterhouse in cooperation with The PhotoBookMuseum
The Library

 

Thursday, 7.3., 4-6 p.m.

Fauna and color kitchen: Open workshop of the Jugendwerkstatt Chorweiler

Young people from the Chorweiler Youth Workshop use Warlpiri artistic means and techniques to draw attention to animal species threatened with extinction here in Germany. They invite museum visitors to make animal portraits equally unrecognizable and thus engage creatively with the fragile diversity of our local ecosystem. In the workshops, only natural pigments and natural binding agents are used, which are produced in advance in joint work.
Kitchen

 

Thursday, 7.3., 19-21 h

Film evening REVISIONS: Coniston (OmUeng)

Documentary film about the Coniston massacre of 1928, in which the survivors have their say for the first time.
Kitchen

 

Saturday, 16.3., 11 am - 2 pm

Photography workshop REVISIONS

Can photographic practice be scrutinised from a colonial perspective? Based on the photographic collection of the RJM and the exhibition, we will question the camera as an instrument of violence and resistance. In the practical part, we will try to realise the resulting ideas using various artistic methods such as collage and montage.

 

Thursday, 28.3., 11 am - 2 pm

Holiday workshop for children aged 8 and over: Warlpiri art: stories in colour

Various symbols and icons have been used in Warlpiri painting for thousands of years to convey cultural knowledge across generations. During a tour of the special exhibition REVISIONS, you will learn more about the life and culture of the Warlpiri. Here you will learn how artists preserve stories and traditions with countless small, colourful dots. Then it's off to the workshop, where you will not only learn more about the symbols, icons and designs of Warlpiri painting in a painting workshop, but also put your own stories and creations on paper.
Cost: 10.50 euros plus 2 euros for materials, registration via the museum service required

 

Sunday, 7.4. Finissage Sunday

Public guided tours by volunteers at 12, 14 and 16 o'clock

 


We offer the following bookable programmes:


Guided tours for adults
How can the history and diversity of the First People in Australia be retold using artistic means? The special exhibition REVISIONS offers insights into the collaboration between the artists of the Warlukurlangu Artists Centre in Central Australia and the British artist Patrick Waterhouse. During this guided tour you will receive in-depth information about the iconography of Warlpiri painting, the various artistic positions and the creative process of this collaboration.

To the booking

Primary school workshop (guided tour + creative workshop)
Warlpiri is the name of both a language in Central Australia and the people who speak it. For thousands of years, the Warlpiri have used various symbols in their paintings to pass on their cultural knowledge across generations. During a tour of the special exhibition REVISIONS, students learn more about the fascinating world of Warlpiri art and how countless small, colourful dots are used to preserve stories and traditions. Afterwards, the pupils learn more about the symbols and designs of Warlpiri painting in a painting workshop and have the opportunity to put their own stories and creations on paper. This painting workshop not only encourages artistic creativity, but also offers the opportunity to appreciate cultural diversity and traditions.
Workshop OGS (guided tour + creative workshop)
Warlpiri is the name of both a language in Central Australia and the people who speak it. In their painting, Warlpiri have used many different signs for thousands of years to pass on their knowledge across generations. We visit the special exhibition REVISIONS together, where the children learn how the artists preserve stories and traditions with countless small, colourful dots. Then it's off to the workshop, where the children put their own stories and creations on paper in a painting workshop.

Map of Australia by The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, 1839, Revision with Sabrina Nangala Robertson. 2014–2018.
 
This Way Up Restricted with Melinda Napurrurla Wilson, Polly Anne Napangardi Dixon, Kirsten Nangala Egan and Delena Napaljarri Turner
 
Satellite image of the Yanjirlpirri Dreaming Site West of Yuendumu, and Revision with Otto Jungarrayi Sims. 2014–2018