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Stephen Martin Pitjara

"Spirit Man" by Stephen Martin Pitjara


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Size: 96 x 93 cm

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas


Stephen Martin Pitjara is the son of the late Glory Ngala and nephew to the world-renowned artist, Kuddtji Kngwarreye. An emerging artist in the Utopia region, he began painting in the early 1980s. Born around 1963, Stephen now lives mainly in Adelaide with his wife, Bernadine and their young children. Stephen depicts many stories in his artworks and including men’s Yam Seed Dreaming, Emu Dreaming and Creation Story.

Stephen has a versatile, confident style and a rich choice of Stories to share, drawn from a family history of celebrated Artists, including Stephen's famous sisters Gloria Petyarre and Anna Pitjara Price and their brother Alan Pitjara.

With a natural gift for interpenetrating stories through painting and a passion for creating beautiful pieces of art to enhance your space, we are grateful to have Stephen living here in Adelaide with his family. 
​Stephen’s wife, Bernadine Johnson Kamara, is herself an Award-winning Artist in this 2017 SALA Contemporary Art Prize. 

Stephen was born in 1974 in the Utopia region, east of Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
From a family of renowned artists, Stephen is the son of the late Glory Ngala, nephew of Kuddtji Kngwarreye and brother of Anna Price Pitjara.
Stephen’s artworks explore several themes, including Emu Dreaming, Yam Dreaming, Shooting Stars and Spirit Man.

These works reflect an appreciation for strong male figures and resonate with the role of resourceful, reliable men in society and Aboriginal culture. Stephen’s highly detailed ‘Spirit Men’ paintings also explore nature’s offerings and the artist’s connection to country.

As Stephen explains, “we are born with everything we need. It is all around us. We have fire, water, hunting, shelter, tools, animals, plants, winds. Plenty to satisfy everything and be happy.” 

Spirit Man – and “The Laws of Abundance in the Balance of Nature”

“We are born with everything we need. It is all around us. We have fire, water, hunting, shelter, tools, animals, plants, winds. Plenty to satisfy everything and be happy” Stephen shows us. All these things are celebrated in Stephen’s strong Spirit Man’s paintings. There is also an appreciation of strong male figures – resourceful, reliable men are very important role models in all societies and play a crucial role in the structure of Aboriginal societies’ Culture, securing independence, respect for self & others, and safe lifestyle choices.

This artwork depicts the ancestral Spirits and the Creation of the Land. The story tells us that the ancestral spirits came down to the land from the sky in the form of fire. As they moved across the land, the fire would leave behind the country as it can be seen today. These ancestral spirits created the water, rivers, waterholes, trees, animals and plants. A ceremony is held each year to give thanks for the creation and continued abundance of the Pencil Yam.