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.
Based in Roebourne, a small town in Western Australia’s Pilbara region of the north-west of the state, the Yinjaa-Barni artists create deeply personal works of collective memory, rendering the wildflowers, river systems and landforms of their country onto canvas.
Yinjaa-Barni Art began painting together at Roebourne’s Pilbara Aboriginal Church in 2004, before moving to the heritage-listed Dalgety House on the banks of the Harding River in 2007. A peaceful space where artists paint together, Yinjaa-Barni is home to cross-generational talent. Yindjibarndi elders and senior art- ists Maudie Jerrold and the late Mr Mack (1952 – 2019) were part of the inception of the region’s Aboriginal art movement and embody important cultural knowledge in their artwork.
For the senior members of the group, art is an important means of expressing and relaying love for their Country, their culture, and the flora of the region. They use this, along with storytelling, as a way of passing on their knowledge to the younger generations, who are rapidly gaining recognition as artists in their own right.
Yinjaa-Barni artists have exhibited nationally and internationally and have won multiple awards between them, with high profile artists Mr Mack and Allery Sandy both nominated for one of the country’s most prestigious Indigenous art prizes, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, and works by Aileen Sandy, Maudie Jerrold and Mr Mack held by the Art Gallery of Western Australia.
Language: Yindjibarndi Country: Millstream Tablelands
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 the coastal town of Roebourne, Maudie has witnessed and helped guide her community through dramatic lifestyle changes. Maudie’s art relates to the landscapes of the Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma country of the Pilbara, paying specific attention to the flora of the area and often depicting plants or flowers that have medicinal or ceremonial purpose. Her colourful and intricately paterned work communicates elements of the Yindjibarndi country. Maudie was selected to visit Italy as part of the ‘Antica Terra Pulsante’ Pilbara exhibition in Florence in 2006. In 2007 she became a member Yinjaa-Barni Art, bringing to the group her knowledge of culture and her experience in painting. Since being with Yinjaa-Barni Art, Maudie has been an inspiration to the younger members who watch how she uses her colours and puts her designs to canvas.
She is represented in both public and private collections in Australia and overseas and has won a prize at the Cossack Art Awards. Maudie regularly exhibits at the Chalk Horse Gallery in Sydney and the Japingka Gallery in Fremantle.
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 paint at home. He has a flair for painting landscapes and places that he had spent time on during his childhood. He paints the Yindjibarndi country and surrounding areas and also paints animals. Rodney has a natural talent his choice of color and technique with brush work brings something new to all the painting’s that he brings to life on the canvas.
Language: Yindjibarndi Country: Millstream/Tableland
Melissa Sandy was born in Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of Western Australia in 1977 and has lived in Roebourne ever since.
“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 painring. 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 agreat 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 has had no formal training but shows a natural flair for design and dot painting. She is me- ticulous about her choice of colours, spending a lot of time mixing her paints to achieve the right colours to complement each other. Her work has proven to be very popular. 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.
DOB: 07/10/1976 Skin: Garimarra Language: Yinjabarndi
Renee is a Yindjibarndi woman who started painting in the year 2021. She was hesitant to begin with often asking for guidance with colours and ways to interpret the country onto the canvas. After doing a couple of paintings she realised she had a natural flair when painting and using colours. Although she has just begun painting her works have become popular.