[ISEA2013] Artists Statement: Yunkurra Billy Atkins & Sohan Ariel Hayes – Cannibal Story

Artists Statement

Digital HD video, duration 06’52”, col, sd, 2012. Courtesy of the artists, Fremantle Arts Centre and Martumili Artists. One of 3 art works in the Naala-ba exhibition.

Cannibal Story brings to life ancient carnivorous beings that live beneath Kumpupirntily (Lake Disappointment), a salt lake at the heart of Martu country, in the Western Desert, Western Australia. Yunkurra Billy Atkins is the great animator of the dark narratives that score this area where Martu fear to tread, and his beguiling paintings have intrigued and challenged art lovers for many years. Now new audiences are invited into the world of his art, his imagination and his country, as Yunkurra’s paintings are brought to life through his collaboration with award-winning animator Sohan Ariel Hayes. Cannibal Story gives sound and emotion (and a touch of violence) to the beauty and danger of Yunkurra’s original paintings. sohanarielhayes.com/section/454599-Cannibal-Story-The-Animated-Paintings-of-Billy-Yunkurra-Atkins.html

Cannibal Story is a co-production of Fremantle Arts Centre, City of Fremantle and Martumili Artists, Shire of East Pilbara, supported by Martu People Limited and BHP Billiton.
Carriageworks is a cultural facility of the NSW Government and is supported by Arts NSW.

  • Yunkurra Billy Atkins, Martu, was born in the 1930s and lives in Jigalong Community, Western Australia. He is a Martu artist, lawman and storyteller, who was born at Well 9 on the Canning Stock Route and grew up in the country around Wiluna, but returned north to his ancestral homelands, which includes Lake Disappointment, Savory Creek and Jilakurru. He is a knowledgeable senior Martu man and an authority on these important Martu places. Having narrowly avoided being taken away by missionaries as a child, he grew up with Elders, learning about country proppa way. Yunkurra, now living at Jigalong, close to his home country, has been painting and carving as an independent artist since the early 2000s. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions in Australia and overseas. Solo exhibitions include one at the Courthouse Arts Centre and Gallery in Port Hedland in 2004, and Pretty One at William Mora Galleries Melbourne in 2010. His work was selected for the 2003 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award. Yunkurra’s works are included in the collections of The National Gallery of Australia, The National Museum of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria.
  • Sohan Ariel Hayes was born in the 1970s and lives and works in Perth, Western Australia. he is media artist working in the fields of expanded and interactive cinema, animation, pervasive games, systems theory, locative media. Hayes has exhibited widely, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Fremantle Arts Centre, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts and Goddard de Fiddes Gallery in Perth, Plimsoll Gallery in Tasmania, the Jerwood Gallery in London, TAV Gallery in Taiwan, and the Post Museum in Singapore. He has received several national and international awards for his work, including from the British Multimedia Industry Awards in 2002, Laval Virtual, France (2011), Atom Awards, Australia (2002), and the Freeplay Independent Game Awards, Australia (2010). In 1997 he received a nomination for ABAF Most Outstanding Patron of the Arts, Western Australia.