Ronnie Allen Matthew Australian, b. 1939
Ronnie Allen is a self-taught artist and a respected elder in the Kaltukatjara (Docker River) community. Ronnie’s family’s country is Kunapula, just south of Kaltukatjara. He has spent much of his life traveling the Western Desert as a Christian Pentecostal pastor. Ronnie paints several tjukurpa (dreaming) stories including tingarri (ceremony), mulga seed, maku (witchetty grub) and tjala (honey ant). He also paints a unique fusion of tjukurpa with Pentecostal imagery, in which he depicts Yarnangu and Western people holding gatherings. These gatherings play host to ceremonial dances, religious worship, and moral discussions. As such, Ronnie’s work visualises elements of the relationship between Yarnangu and Christian belief systems, stemming from the influence of Christian missionaries in recent history. Ronnie draws together these two worlds in a celebration of community and faith. Through Ronnie’s work, we can see that the interplay between Yarnangu and Christian spirituality has become an indelible aspect of community history and identity.