Director, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
“I first encountered Mick Wikilyiri at Amata in the APY Lands of South Australia in 1999. I had been assisting the women to set up their Art Centre (then named Minymaku Arts) and before long the senior men were keen to join in. Mick was part of the first men’s painting workshops in 2003. At first, I was won over by his gentle yet charismatic personality. But I was also astounded by his remarkable talent as an artist.
“In 2005 Mick was part of our first group men’s exhibition at Alcaston gallery, Amatala watiku tjukurpa wiru – Good stories from Amata men. He had his first solo exhibition at the gallery in 2014 and then again in 2018 and 2019. I am continually drawn to his unique portrayal of Country in the APY Lands – his landscapes are thoughtfully depicted through striking imagery, stylistic experimentation and intense colour. Mick’s paintings are a highly personal representation of Country, spirituality and a rich family history – a true celebration of his Anangu culture.
“Appreciated by a wide audience, ranging from emerging to established collectors, Mick’s work can be found in major collections across Australia and overseas. His paintings particularly appeal to an international art market, as the colourful compositions give an insight into his deeply sacred Indigenous culture.
“Having represented Mick for close to 15 years, I am perpetually in awe of his artistic achievements, and my support continues with his forth- coming exhibition this September at Alcaston Gallery.”
Curator of Aboriginal Art, Museum and Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
“Inspired by designs that appear as rock paintings or petroglyphs on his Country, Wikilyiri creates dramatic constellations of spidery roundels with the occasional presence of ancestral snakes and honey ants. His love of deep, saturated colour, whether it be in blues and purples, reds and yellows, channels a rare intensity.
“Recent works of kulata (spears) high- light his gifted sense of composition. I love his tendency not to fill the entire available space. It provides an endless continuum for each painting to work within. His collaborations with his wife Paniny Mick reveal a unique compatibility. He is a gifted artist, but each work appears hard- won and therefore bristles with integrity.”
This article was originally published in Art Collector issue 89, JUL – SEP, 2019.