Unique Hermannsburg Pottery Piece on display in Sydney office

  • Media
July 19,2022
Since 2015, the Colin Biggers & Paisley Foundation has developed a strong relationship with Hermannsburg Potters, supporting the centre and its talented artists through pro bono legal advice.
In 2021, senior Hermannsburg artist, Anita Ratara, produced one of her signature pottery works that was commissioned by the Colin Biggers & Paisley Foundation. To mark NAIDOC Week, this incredible piece was displayed in the Sydney office for clients, colleagues, and community to enjoy.
The artwork titled Thepa Ntjaarra, meaning Many Birds in Western Arrarnta language, is a unique terracotta pot depicting a number of key landscapes and animals found in Anita's Country. As Anita describes:
"All around my countryside we have thepa ntjaarra (many birds). Here you can see Lyerrtjina (budgies), Urrpara (magpie), Kukalala (white cockatoo), Alakoki (pink galah), Tuakitja (grey-crowned babbler), Ngapa (crow). For a long time we have been calling the birds by these names. This is my Country, near Palm Valley. Western Arrarnta Country."


About Hermannsburg

The Western Arrernte community of Ntaria (Hermannsburg) is based at the remote foothills of the Western MacDonnell ranges in Central Australia. Hermannsburg has a rich history as one of the birthplaces of contemporary Aboriginal art. It was here that the watercolour art movement started and where internationally recognised artist Albert Namatjira painted. 

Since 1990, the Hermannsburg Potters have been depicting their Arrernte stories on unique hand-crafted ceramics, contributing to their self-employment and artistic career. Now regarded as master ceramicists, the Hermannsburg Potters exhibit their work widely through Australia and internationally.
The work of the Hermannsburg Potters is vibrant and highly original and draws on many influences from their natural environment, rich cultural history and day-to-day life. The potters depict their favourite themes and subjects, including Country, family, birds, animals, bush tucker, mission days and current life in Hermannsburg.

About the Artist

Anita Ratara was 'born bush' in the alukura (women's camp) near Hermannsburg in 1943. She attended Hermannsburg Mission school, and later went on to work in the clinic, teaching young mothers. Anita showed a natural ability in the arts and crafts, teaching herself to paint from an early age and comes from a family of artists.

Anita mostly depicts Palm Valley in her work, the home of the Willy Wagtail Dreaming, who turned into a stone in the desert. Palm Valley is Anita's grandfather's Country, and she continues to assert her links with her Country through art. Her works have featured in a number of exhibitions, galleries and art fairs across Australia and internationally.