About this artwork
This artwork depicts Carlene’s family’s country which is near Kanpi in the Western APY Lands. The emu (kalaya) is the ancestral being who formed that part of the country as it travelled from Kanpi to Watarru.
Carlene is a senior artist and woman in the Ernabella community. Her artworks are about tjulpu tjuta (birds). It is very typical for the kalaya to have many children, like Carlene who had six children when she was a younger woman. People call her Tjulpu Thompson, and she says ‘like I did with my children, I now raise chicks every day on canvas and in clay in my work’.
About Carlene Thompson
Mother's Country: Dalhousie, Northern Territory Father's Country: Kanpi Community, APY Lands Dreaming: Kayala Carlene was born Carlene De Rose, in Finke in 1950. She met her husband, Kunmanara (Kawaki) Thompson OAM, at De Rose Hill,and they were married there. Her late husband was a highly regarded senior Pitjantjatjara man who was a major figure in the Land Rights Movement. Carlene and her husband had one son, and five daughters, three of whom also work at Ernabella. Carlene started painting at Ernabella in 2007 and quickly developed a very individual style. In 2009 Carlene began to concentrate on ceramics. Her work is contemporary while being based on Country and the creation being of her family's country, the kalaya (emu). She is a strong participant in women's ceremony and is passing this knowledge down to her daughters. Carlene is on the Ernabella Arts board. She lives near Ernabella at the homeland Black Hill No. 2.