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Keringke Art Centre began with a nine-week fabric painting course in 1987. In 1988 the women of Santa Teresa held an exhibition at Australian Bicentennial Craft Show, the first time an Aboriginal group had done so. By 1989, the Aboriginal Development Board (later Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission) provided funding for a purpose built art centre. Keringke means ‘kangaroo tracks’. It is an ancient and important Kangaroo ancestor site.
The art centre was named after Keringke Rockhole, for which some of the founding artists had customary responsibilities. The name was chosen by one of Kathleen Wallace’s aunties, Agnes Abbott, also a founding artist. With others, these women share responsibilities to Keringke Rockhole, and pass this relationship forwards through family and kinship. Mrs Wallace acted as the custodian of the art centre and worked there daily for many years. She is perhaps the best known of the Keringke artists.
Keringke Arts produces contemporary eastern Arrernte art. While the stories and imagery of this vast country has influence on the works produced by the Keringke artists, their works are not usually accompanied by any one story. Instead, age old motifs, landscape forms and patterns of movement lay the groundwork for dynamic images formed from a personal expression of self within the modern world.
A wide range of products are available from Keringke Arts, including textiles, paintings on paper, wood and canvas, hand painted furniture, bowls, vases, artifacts including boomerangs, coolamons, music sticks and beadwork.
This is story about the kangaroo that came in the dreamtime from the South East. It was a big red kangaroo (aherre), he went behind Santa Teresa (Ltyentye Apurte), along the creek (lhere). As he was going through the country he visited his cousin, the bellbird (kwepalepale). The place was really green, a smooth yellow vine (ayepe) was everywhere, ankle high. The kangaroo travelled along the creek, being careful so as not to get his feet caught in the vine. After he visited his cousin, he crossed a plain and got caught in the yellow vines, and his leg became tangled up. He was just about dragging himself up the gully, because it was a hot day, he could not go any further. He stopped in a clear area, but there were too many flies there. He used to get the dust and throw it over himself to keep them away. In doing so, he made a big hole and that became the rockhole. That was the last time he made footprints on the rock and they can still be seen today. After that, other kangaroos used to come down to drink at the rockhole, they were hill kangaroos, euros (arenge). To this day you can still see the tail tracks of the euros. There was a little pouch (apethe) near the rockhole, with two little shiny pink stones in it, representing baby kangaroos, there are only the remains today. The rockhole is now known as Keringke, a sacred site.