With an emphasis on the activities of everyday life, depicted in scenes involving cartoon-like figures, the Tartakula Artists can be seen to embody aspects of the naïve art tradition as well as offering nods to both folk and outsider art.
Based in Tennant Creek, Susannah Nelson, Gladys Anderson, Lindy Brodie, Heather Anderson, Ruth Dawson and Michelle Brodie have built an aesthetic largely unseen in the broader landscape of Aboriginal art, rendering their work unique to the community. The Tartukula artists often blur the line between figurative and abstract art, using bold colour and thick line to create exuberant depictions of country. While immediately presenting as playful depictions, the works are rendered in meticulous detail and bear a strong resemblance to their subject. These carefully observed paintings are often recalled from time spent on country.
Minute details such as a brand of windmill or the mechanisms of a water pump are all intricately recorded in the landscape of artists like Gladys Anderson, Lindy Brodie, Heather Anderson, and Michelle Brodie. Religion is a significant theme amongst the group, in particular the works of Susannah Nelson, Lindy Brodie and Ruth Dawson. Susannah is well-known for vibrant depictions of biblical stories; she incorporates the traditional language of central Australian Aboriginal art within her rich figurative scenes. The Tartukula artists frequently incorporate references to symbols used in traditional Aboriginal art within contemporary figurative scenes; dot paintings appear on train carriages or border figurative works; U shape symbols are used to signify the mark in the sand where a person was sitting. Works also consistently feature animal tracks and concentric circles indicating a waterhole. This can be seen as an exchange of language between the old and the new; Tartukula Artists employ a combination of traditional and contemporary Aboriginal visual language, rendering them significant innovators in the landscape of contemporary Australian art.