Grace Kemarre Robinya Australian, Anmattyarre / Arrente, b. 1942
Robinya was born and raised in Ntaria (Hermannsburg), her father was a Rubuntja from Mt Hay (Urre), and her mother was an Ungkwanaka from Running Water (Irremangkere). Robinya has fond recollections of sewing and playing sport at the Lutheran Mission of Hermannsburg, but admits she eloped at only sixteen with her husband, and never looked back! She married and travelled to Coniston Station with her husband. There she had her children, surrounded by cousins and elders in the then thriving Aboriginal camp located near the then operating station. Her children claim as their father’s Country, Paddy’s Well, north of 20 Mile Waterhole on Napperby Station.
An artist and seed jeweller of many years standing, Robinya hot-wires and paints traditional patterns onto gum nuts, which she threads together with the Innernte (Batwing Coral) and other seeds she collects during winter. Robinya’s paintings have always been highly considered and labour intensive, and generally distinguished by very neat multi-layered dot work, balanced colour schemes and symmetrical compositions. More recently, Robinya’s figurative paintings, often near miniatures, detail important locations and events in her life: her childhood at Hermannsburg Mission and surrounding Ntaria region, or visits to her beloved Irremangkere. She also records details of station life at Coniston and Napperby Stations, where she and her husband worked as a domestic, and ringer respectively, while raising their family.
A frequent return visitor to Laramba Aboriginal Community now established on Napperby Station, Robinya also documents exciting football and softball carnivals in which her grandsons and granddaughters feature, playing for the winning Anmatyerr teams. These and other works detail life in the remote Aboriginal communities in which Robinya has lived throughout her life.