We’re very pleased to introduce you to an artist we believe should be on your radar: Steven Jupurrurla Nelson from Warlukurlangu Artists. This is just a tiny teaser of Nelson’s work; there will be more to come in near future.
What sets Nelson’s work apart from many of his contemporaries is his hybrid approach to representing his traditional Jukurrpa (Dreaming Story), most often the ‘Janganpa Jukurrpa’ (brush-tail possum Dreaming) from his mother’s side. Nelson decided against using traditional iconography to depict his story and has instead created his own visual language which borrows elements from European abstraction.
The ground of his canvases are covered in irregular patches of bright colour representing land formations as well as story elements. Laid over this is a network of dotted outlines, rough roundels and sketchy connecting lines which allude to traditional Indigenous iconography but are of his own making.
Nelson’s unique visual language creates a pictorial dynamic that transcends a monocultural classification of traditional Indigenous art to exist in its own space, simultaneously reflecting his Aboriginal heritage and experience as well as his place within a contemporary Australian life that is hyper- and globally-connected. The ancient knowledge of his Ancestors unquestionably underpins each work, however his interactions with and experience of life outside his community ultimately shape his aesthetic theory.
A Warlpiri man, Nelson was born in 1978 in Alice Springs to Nora Nungarrayi Jurrah (dec.) and John Jampijinpa Brown (resident of Papunya). He was brought up by his mother and stepfather, Frankie Jakamarra Nelson.
Nelson began painting at Warlukurlangu Artists in late 2014 after working at the art centre for some time.
Nelson’s Country is located near Nyirrpi, another remote Aboriginal community approximately 170 kilometres west of Yuendumu. His mother’s and grandfather’s Country is also in this area. His mother’s Country includes the Nginyirrpalangu outstation. His grandfather, Banjo Patterson, owned Country that includes Ngarupalya.