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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

This pot is a group self-portrait of the Hermannsburg Potters, a collective of highly respected senior women artists of the Western Arrarnta (Arrernte) community. Through their vibrant hand-built, hand-painted terracotta pots, they tell stories of the local wildlife, Country and everyday life, reflecting their cultural beliefs and traditions. Although each of the artists has an individual style and approach, for this commission they worked together to create a self-portrait. The potters themselves are pictured on the sides of the pot, represented by their totem. Clara Ngala Inkamala, for example, is represented with an emu and chicks.

Ntaria (Hermannsburg) is a former Lutheran mission located 130 km west of Mparntwe (Alice Springs) in the Northern Territory. Hermannsburg Potters was established in 1990 several years after the land was returned to the traditional Arrarnta owners. Since then, Hermannsburg Potters has thrived, becoming a source of revenue for the community and an important form of traditional and contemporary expression for the local people. Hermannsburg pots have been widely exhibited and represented in national and international collections.

Commissioned 2009
© Hermannsburg Potters Aboriginal Corporation

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Hermannsburg Potters

Irene Mbitjana Entata (age 63 in 2009)

Virginia Mbitjana Rontji

Lindy Panangka Rontji (age 47 in 2009)

Rahel Kngwarria Ungwanaka (age 63 in 2009)

Rona Panangka Rubuntja (age 39 in 2009)

Dawn Ngala Wheeler (age 56 in 2009)

Judith Pungarta Inkamala (age 62 in 2009)

Anita Ratara Mbitjana (age 66 in 2009)

Hayley Panangka Coulthard (age 42 in 2009)

Clara Ngala Inkamala

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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Of human clay

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The first collaborative commission has arrived. It's a self portrait, it's ceramic and it's from Hermannsburg.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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