THANAKUPI, Eran Enlarge 1 /1


Dhaynagwidh (Thaynakwith) people

Queensland, Australia 1937 – 2011

Eran 2010 Place made: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, metalwork, aluminium

Dimensions: 2700.0 h cm
Acknowledgement: Acquired through the Founding Donors' Fund 2010
Accession No: NGA 2010.651

The earthen ceramics of Thainakuith artist and master ceramist Thanakupi (Gloria Fletcher) grace the collections of many state and national galleries and museums in Australia. She began her artistic career as a painter in the late 1960s, alongside pioneering Goobalathaldin landscape artist Dick Roughsey, before turning her attention to working with clay—a substance traditionally only used in her clan group by men. With her community’s endorsement, she started creating beautiful spherical textured works of art and has continued to develop her ceramic work over the past 40 years.

Informed by an intimate knowledge of Thainakuith law and culture, Thanakupi’s ceramics reflected the complex narratives of her ancestors. Animals such as kangaroos, emus and fish consume the surfaces of her ceramic vessels and the spaces between are filled with the rhythm and energy of flowing vines.

As an Elder within her community, Thanakupi formally and informally shares her vast cultural knowledge with other Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. She has done so for several decades.

Thanakupi recently started working with Urban Art Projects, a foundry in Brisbane, to create large-scale aluminium and bronze public works of art. Eran 2010 is one such work and was commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia to mark the entrance of the Stage 1 building, which opened in October this year.

Thanakupi’s work with Urban Art Projects on these new large-scale objects further develops her arts practice while maintaining the Thainakuith traditional narratives.

Franchesca Cubillo, Senior Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art
in artonview, issue 64,  summer 2010

in artonview, issue 64, summer 2010