Westpac Bank at Surry Hills is showing of a small selection of my talented partner, David Naseby’s latest series of paintings – Desert Dancing .
We did this amazing trip into Central Australia last year, travelling more than 8,000 kilometres, criss-crossing desert tracks that took us to some of Australia’s most remote areas. We eventually ended up at Titjikala, a tiny community two hours south of Alice Springs where David did some volunteer work in the Art Centre for a short time. Along the way he discovered a painting element that would change the appearance of his next series of paintings.
The Indigenous people have inhabited the western fringes of the Simpson desert for more than 40,000 years. It is a stark and arid, but very beautiful, region with its rolling sand hills and desert oaks. Titjikala is accessible by a sand-rutted road meandering through the red dunes. Travellers are are advised to watch out for wild camels, dingoes, kangaroos and roaming bullocks. In Aboriginal dreaming Titjikala means ‘eagle from the clay pan’. Dominating this community of 250 people is an abnormally large sand dune.The explosion of colour from the rich burnt orange of the dune seemed to have an intensity like no other he had ever seen, and David began to wonder if he could use some of the actual red dirt in his paintings. A couple of boys who work at the Arts Centre drove off with him to fill a large plastic bucket full of soil to take home. Two weeks later back in his studio he experimented by mixing the soil with glue before painting it on to the canvas. The rich red hues that formed added an exciting new tactile dimension to his work making these latest paintings at once tangible and abstract.
David sees this desert landscape as a snapshot from an ancient times. Mostly untouched by human habitation the eternal silence of the harsh terrain overwhelms and confronts us with our own fragility.
If you happen to be in Surry Hills and would like to drop in and look at his work, the Westpac branch is at 547 Crown Street