Established in 1948, Ernabella Arts is Australia’s oldest, continuously running Indigenous art centre. Ernabella Arts is in Pukatja Community, at the eastern end of the Musgrave Ranges in the far northwest of South Australia. Pukatja was the first permanent settlement on the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands).
The Presbyterian Board of Missions established Ernabella Mission in 1937, and a craft room was established in 1948. The first craft products were hand-loomed woven fabrics and hand-pulled and knotted floor rugs with a unique pattern that became known as ‘Anapalayaku walka’ – Ernabella’s design. In recent years, long after commencing working as artists, senior women decided to leave behind the walka of the early days and to depict their Tjukurpa (sacred stories of country and law). The art centre’s reputation lies in the adaptability and innovation of the artists, who have been introduced to many different mediums since the craft room began, including batik and ceramics. Today the artists are a mix of young and old, men and women, fostering the intergenerational transmission of knowledge and skills. The members of Ernabella Arts are always reinvigorating their centre, seeing it through its evolution from the first incarnation as a craft room into a culturally strong contemporary art centre.
Desert Mob is presented annually in Mparntwe | Alice Springs on Arrernte Country.
On behalf of Desart’s staff and art centre members, the Executive Committee humbly and respectfully acknowledge the Arrernte Apmereke Artweye (Traditional Owners) and Kwertengerle (Traditional Managers) of Mparntwe.
Desart respectfully advises Aboriginal readers that this website may contain names, images and artworks of people who have passed away.