After over 30 years of travelling and painting Australia's deserts, expedition artist Jo Bertini travelled with the nomadic tribes in Kutch and Rajasthan to bear witness to their desert migrations and cultural history through an Australian perspective.
Jo Bertini’s new exhibition of paintings and painted textiles opens at MARS Gallery on Saturday, 25th November. Bertini is interested in the transformative and reciprocal nature of desert landscapes, and the extraordinary value of the cultural material that flows from some of the most seemingly harsh and inhospitable places on the planet. For nearly 15 years Bertini has been expedition artist for Australian Desert Expeditions (ADE), travelling to remote corners of the Gibson, Simpson and Central deserts for up to three months at a time. Her recent field trip to India, facilitated by the Australian High Commission, explores the direct link shared with Australian and Indian nomadic cultural heritage. The shared affinity Indian Maldhari and Australian cameleers stretches back to 1860 when camels were first brought to Australia for inland explorations in the great central deserts. Several of the works in the exhibition utilise textiles sourced from traditional villages, market places and from private collections throughout Kutch and Rajasthan. Each piece was carefully selected to unite an Australian perspective with deep-rooted Indian traditions. “My artworks in this exhibition are informed by bearing witness to their desert migrations and the resulting riches of cultural creativity that is the legacy of their lives.” – Jo Bertini