First Nations Adviser and Artists

AGB Events First Nations Adviser

“Parrtjima means shedding both light and understanding, but it’s much more. It’s the generosity and spirit of a peoples who have and always will care for country and for the many travellers who visit this timeless land.” AGB Events First Nations Adviser Rhoda Roberts

A Widjubul woman from the Bundjalung territories, Rhoda Roberts AO is currently Head of First Nations Programming, Sydney Opera House, Festival Director, Boomerang Festival and First Nations Adviser Parrtjima Festival (NT).

An experienced motivated and versatile arts executive, with a diverse range of international and national industry practice within commercial, community and non-profit organisations.

Rhoda was the founder and Festival Director of the Dreaming Festivals (1995-2009). A practicing weaver, actor, independent producer and director, she continues to work as a consultant across diverse disciplines and is a sought after speaker and performer in theatre, film, television and radio.

Artist: Rhoda Roberts

Kumalie Kngwarraye Riley

Kumalie Kngwarraye Riley is an Arrernte woman from Alice Springs with spiritual affiliations and connections to the land of her grandmother. Kumalie is a well-known Arrernte Elder and artist with many years of experience teaching the Arrernte language in Alice Springs primary schools and in adult education.

She is passionate about the Arrernte language and its affiliated grandmother stories, and strong through the role she plays in both her community and her work as a contemporary artist.

Artist: Kumalie-Riley

Greg McAdam

Greg McAdam painted Grass Seed in 2004. It is a dreaming story from his country Yamba, given to him by his uncle. With a thirst for cultural knowledge and information, Greg paints as a way to connect with his cultural being.

Born in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) in 1977, Greg’s parents sent him to Adelaide to be educated. There he developed a career in Australian Rules playing for SANFL and later the VFL and AFL.

Artists: Greg McAdam

Rachel Wallace

Rachel Wallace is an Arrernte woman. Coming from a family of artists, painting helps Rachel remember Dreaming stories. Passed down to the artist from her grandfather, this is the first time the family has depicted this Dreaming story. Rachel did so to carry on the family knowledge of generations.

Artist: Rachel Wallace

Lachlan Dodds-Watson

Lachlan Dodds-Watson is a 23-year-old artist from Alice Springs. He went to school in Adelaide where he trained to be a footie player. However, the call of home was so strong he returned to Alice Springs.

Lachlan’s emu shape and style for Emu Laying Eggs at Night is taken from the artwork of his father, who gave Lachlan permission to start his own paintings, expressed in his own contemporary style.

Artists: Lachlan Dodds-Watson and Rhoda Roberts

Gladys Nappurula Anderson

Gladys ‘Nappurula’ Anderson (Ducks) was born in Alroy Downs, near Barkly Homestead, to a Warumungu father and mother. She went to school in Rockhampton Downs before moving to Tennant Creek where she started painting. Gladys used to paint crows, an important dreaming for the Warumungu. She now paints white ducks from the recreational dam at Tingkarli, 5km north of Tennant Creek.

Artist: Gladys Nappurula-Anderson

Marcia Ashwin

Marcia Ashwin (Echidna Dreaming) was born in Perth but has lived all her life in Wiluna. She has a daughter, Joella, and likes to spend time in the bush. She started painting in 2000. Her favourite subjects are porcupines and bush tucker. Marcia exhibited work in a community-based Aboriginal art project backed by Oakajee Port and Rail (2012-2013) in the QV1 Building in Perth.

Artist: Marcia Ashwin

Benita Cavanagh

Benita Cavanagh (Three Dreamings) is an Aboriginal woman from the community of Santa Teresa (Ltyentye Apurte). Her Country is around what is known today as Arltunga. A fluid and talented artist, Benita’s paintings offer a window into the depths of her cultural role and special knowledge. Benita is Ngangkere, and uses the healing powers of her Country and culture to attend to people’s illnesses.

Jimmy Donegan

Jimmy Donegan (Papa Tjukurpa) was born at Yanpan, a rockhole near Ngatuntjarra Bore. He grew up in the country surrounding Papulankutja (Blackstone) and Mantamaru (Jameson) in Western Australia. A skilled wood craftsman, his spears, spear throwers and boomerangs are greatly prized. He is also a strong cultural man, involved in traditional law and ceremony. In August 2010, Jimmy won the General Painting category and the overall prize for the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (NATSIAA).

Pammy Kemarre Foster

Pammy Kemarre Foster (Bush Medicine Plants) is a young emerging artist from Tennant Creek who now lives and paints in Ampilatwatja. Her work shows a strong connection to Country through a thorough understanding of the bush medicine she paints. Painting bush medicine stories is important because it helps to maintain knowledge and a strong culture for the community. The Ampilatwatja community made a conscious decision not to paint ‘altyerr’ dreaming stories. Instead, artists paint the Country where these stories belong.

Alison Multa

Alison Multa (Women’s Hairstring Dreaming) was born in Alice Springs and moved with her mother back to her Country, 200km west of Haasts Bluff. Alison’s home Country is in and around the Cleland Hills. This is sand-hill country beyond the West MacDonnell Ranges, and a permanent dwelling at Brown’s Bore allowed Alison to renew her connections with the land. Rather than limit herself to telling personal stories, she likes to experiment with styles and textures as she takes in the broader sweep of desert life, its changing moods and Aboriginal connection to the landscape.

Artist: Alison Multa

Heather Watson

Heather Watson (Murray Bore) was born in the bush at a rock hole called Aliwunyu wunyu near Watinuma in the Pitjantjatjara Lands of South Australia while her parents were travelling for work at the Missions. Aliwunyu is the place of the Wati Ngintaka Tjukurpa (Perentie Lizard). Being born there, Heather has a special responsibility to look after the Ngintaka story and has markings on her body that signify the Ngintaka. She is the second wife of the late painter Tjupiuru Watson and travels widely between family homes in Tjuntjuntjara, Irrunytju (WA), and Kalka (SA).

Artist: Heather Watson

Paul Ah Chee & Friends

Paul Ah Chee “Ngala’ is an Alice Springs-based singer/songwriter. Although Paul had a love of music as a young boy it wasn’t until Paul formed AMUNDA with three other local musicians in 1989 that he began to play in earnest.  AMUNDA enjoyed success with appearances at major festivals such as Big Day Out and the Adelaide Fringe Festival. AMUNDA stopped performing in 1997 and Paul has now embarked upon a solo project with new music to be released in May 2020.  Paul will perform some of these new songs live at Parrtjima 2020, along with a selection of AMUNDA favourites.