Colours of the Pilbara

Colours of the Pilbara

27th January - 18th February 2023



Chalk Horse is thrilled to announce Colours of the Pilbara, a dynamic group show featuring Yinjaa Barni artists Aileen Sandy, Allery Sandy, Marlene Harold, Maudie Jerrold, Melissa Sandy, Rodney Adams, and Renee Wally.

Yinjaa Barni Art is a collective of Aboriginal artists who predominantly belong to the Yindjibarndi language group and whose ancestral homelands surround the Fortescue River and Millstream Tablelands, Western Australia. Based in Roebourne, a small town in Western Australia’s Pilbara region of the north-west of the state, the Yinjaa-Barni artists have created works of collective memory, rendering the wildflowers, the river systems and colours that stream across the landforms of their country.


Aileen Sandy

DOB: 01/07/1951
Skin: Burubgu
Language: Yindjibarndi
Country: Millstream/Tableland

Aileen Sandy is a Yindjibarndi artist from Roebourne. A member of a prominent family of Yindjibarndi artists, Aileen’s mother comes from the Millstream Tablelands, and her father’s country is around Mt Florence Station. Aileen’s artwork is known for its distinctive straight lines, circles and dots, and depicts her traditional country around the Millstream Tablelands and the Fortescue River. Incorporating influences from basketry and weaving, Aileen’s works display a blend of dotting and more contemporary influences. Earth reds and the varied colours that course across the Fortescue rock faces can be found in her work, often with river sand incorporated into her paint to achieve a textured effect on canvas.

Since the start of her practice in early 2007, Aileen’s works have won the Cossack Art Awards, Northwest Landscape Painting category (2010) and Painting by a Pilbara Indigenous Artist (2013), been collected by the Art Gallery of Western Australia (2011), and a major work commissioned by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in Perth (2019). In 2022 Aileen completed a major commissioned work for ‘Tracks We Share’ at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. Collections include: Art Gallery Western Australia, Ritz Carlton, Perth, Janet Holmes a Court


Allery Sandy

DOB: 04/04/1955
Language: Yindjibarndi
Country: Millstream/Tableland

An accomplished painter, educator, performer and community leader, Allery Sandy is a Yindjibarndi artist from Roebourne. Her distinguishing aerial perspectives typically celebrate the wildflowers, creeks, rivers, and bush foods of her Country. Allery’s artworks build on underpainting with sponge and brush work, creating a layer of fine dot work, and crafting a sense of movement and depth of field on the canvas. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and is represented in private and public collections including the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

Allery regularly exhibits at private galleries in Fremantle and Sydney, and has won a number of prizes at the Cossack Art Awards including Landscape Painting, Oil or Acrylic (2007), Painting by a West Australian Artist (2008), Painting by West Australian Indigenous Artist (2014), and Best Overall (2020). In 2012, Allery was a finalist in the 29th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards for her painting Country in Spring. Her works have been collected by Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Flinders University Art Museum, Parliament House Collection of Western Australia, Australian Embassy in Yangon, and Restore Hope Foundation. In addition to her work as an artist and Chairperson of Yinjaa-Barni Art, Allery is a passionate communicator of her culture. In 2013, Allery performed in the premiere season of Big hART’s Hipbone Sticking Out in Canberra, a performance narrating Indigenous stories of Australia by the people of Roebourne.


Marlene Harold

DOB: 7/05/1956
Language: Yindjibarndi
Country: Millstream Tablelands

Yindjibarndi artist Marlene Harold was born at Mt Florence Station where her father Ned Harold and her mother Hilda Fishook worked at the time. She has lived in the Kimberley and also at Mulga Downs Station and Wittenoom Gorge in the Pilbara. Now based in Roebourne, Marlene started painting in late 2006. Her artwork is characterised by its impressionist look, delicate mixing, layering technique, and the fluidity between highly charged colours and subtler blends. Marlene employs a variety of techniques such as dot painting with splatter and stick work to create her striking, contemporary renderings of sites and ancestral stories from her Country.

She is represented in many private collections in Australia, and has been acquired by the Parliament House Collection Western Australia, the Holmes a Court Collection, and City of Joondalup. She has exhibited her artworks in solo and group shows in the Pilbara, Perth, Sydney and Singapore and has won prizes at the Cossack Art Awards for Painting by a Pilbara Indigenous Artist (2011 and 2014). In 2011, a painting by Marlene was chosen to be presented to Queen Elizabeth II on her visit to Australia for that year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government. In 2022 Marlene’s work was included in ‘Tracks We Share’ at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.


Maudie Jerrold

DOB: 1/07/1950
Skin: Balyirri
Language: Yindjibarndi
Country: Millstream Tablelands

A Yindjibarndi elder and founding member of one of the region’s first art groups, Bujinhurrba, Maudie Jerrold is part of the backbone of Pilbara Aboriginal art. Born in Hooley Creek near Wittenoom and raised in Roebourne, Maudie has witnessed and helped guide her community through dramatic lifestyle changes. Maudie’s colourful and intricately patterned artwork relates to the landscapes of Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma Country of the Pilbara, paying specific attention to the flora of the area and often depicting plants or flowers that have a medicinal or ceremonial purpose.

In 2006 Maudie was selected to visit Florence, Italy as part of Antica Terra Pulsante, an exhibition showcasing art from the Pilbara. In 2007 she became a member Yinjaa-Barni Art, bringing to the group her cultural knowledge and painting experience. Maudie is represented in both public and private collections in Australia and internationally and has won prizes at the Cossack Art Awards, including Best Artwork by Western

Australian Aboriginal Artist (2009 and 2012). Her work has been exhibited in the Pilbara, Perth, Sydney, Singapore, Italy and Spain and has been acquired by the Art Gallery of Western Australia. In 2022 Maudie’s work was included in ‘Tracks We Share’ at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.


Melissa Sandy

DOB: 16/05/1977
Skin: Balyirri
Language: Yindjibarndi
Country: Millstream/Tableland

Melissa Sandy is a Yindjibarndi artist who was born in Port Hedland and is based in Roebourne. Melissa’s mother’s Country surrounds the Millstream Tablelands, while her father hails from Adelaide. Her acrylic on canvas works are recognisable for their meticulous selection of colour, depicting her Country as well as narratives of personal meaning. These contemporary artworks often use fine dot work to share aerial perspectives of wildflowers or plants. Melissa Sandy is meticulous about her choice of colours, spending a lot of time mixing her paints to achieve the right colours to complement each other. It is hard for her to get a body of work together as they are often sold before her work is finished. The stories that go with her paintings express the land and the plants from her country and the stories told by her elders. Melissa’s work is highly individual and easily recognisable and she is constantly working on new methods of expression.

“I started painting late in 2006. At first it was something to do to pass the time because I thought I had no artistic talent at all. A couple of paintings later I realised I did have my own style of painting. Painting helps me in so many ways. It helps me to relax, makes me feel more confident about myself and I have found that my art is ag reat way to express myself. I am so grateful to be able to paint. When any of my paintings are sold it makes me very happy to be able to make someone else happy. Please enjoy my work. Knowing that someone else is benefiting from my art makes it all worth while.” – Melissa Sandy

Melissa began painting with Yinjaa-Barni Art in 2006. Her artworks have been exhibited in group shows in Perth and the Pilbara, and in a solo show at Sydney’s Chalk Horse Gallery in 2011. She has won several prizes at the Cossack Art Awards, including Painting by a Western Australian Indigenous Artists (2008) and Painting by a Pilbara Indigenous Artist (2018), and she has had her work acquired by Flinders University Art Museum in South Australia (2014). Last year she won the 2022 Perth Royal Art Prize for Landscape and her work was included in ‘Tracks We Share’ at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.


Rodney Adams

DOB: 8/07/1975
Language: Yindjibarndi
Country: Millstream Tablelands

Rodney Adams is a Yindjibarndi man who was born in the town of Roebourne. He only recently started to paint while watching his partner Renee Wally paint at home. In his work Rodney depicts places from his childhood in Roebourne. He paints buildings in the landscape like the Tambrey, Chirrtta and the Old Woodbrook station, and tin huts where his family lived. The contrast between these built structures and the natural environment is recurring in the his work. Rodney also paints animals.

Rodney is a new member to our art centre as an artist. He has been coming into Yinjaa-Barni Art centre for a few years now visiting his nanas and family and watching them paint. His partner, Renee, started painting last year. He would watch her paint at the centre and at home. This inspired him and this year Rodney decided he would like to have a go at painting using one of Renee’s canvases. He painted his first picture and we were all amazed to see the beautiful landscape of his country. He is inspired by his love of country and stories told to him by his parents and grandparents. His paintings are a recording of the Yindjibarndi history and culture that is very dear to his heart. – Patricia Floyd, Centre Co-ordinator for Yinjaa Barni Art


Renee Wally

DOB: 07/10/1976
Skin: Garimarra
Language: Yinjabarndi

Renee Wally is a Yindjibarndi woman who began painting in the year 2021. Renee’s paintings capture the mood of the Pilbara landscape at dusk and dawn – radiating warmth as the sun fades and stars arise, and the light expanding through the landscape as the day begins. Renee’s paintings are characterised by a softness that hums and a sense of peacefulness.While her palette is dark and earthy, an iridescence cuts through through and makes her compositions glow. Renee also enjoys painting animals such as the turkey in the day break.