Marlene Rubuntja was born in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) in 1960, and grew up at Amoonguna community, east of Alice Springs where she went to school. Marlene is the daughter of Wenton Rubuntja the well-known painter and activist. It was her father who fought for the rights of people to settle Town Camps in Alice Springs. In the 1970’s her family, the Rubuntjas’, along with the Ebatarinjas’ and the Lynches were the original families to settle Yarrenyty Arltere Town Camp. Marlene has been here ever since, and she is proud to call this place home. Marlene learnt to sew at Yirara College, Alice Springs, however she only began making soft sculptures at Yarrenyty Arltere in 2009. She says she draws inspiration for her soft sculptures and her works on paper from what she sees around her in her daily life at Yarrenyty Arltere Town Camp; “some things are good for people and other things make people really mad”. She also draws inspiration from her father’s country and from her husband’s country at Wave Hill.

Interested in telling proudly the stories of her people; her art is helping her to do this. Marlene is a proud spokeswoman for the Art Centre and is happy to tell people how important it is in her life in helping her stay strong and healthy. Marlene has worked on the films made through the Yarrenyty Arltere Art Centre, as a writer, artist, cultural advisor and on screen. She has twice officially opened the Desert Mob Exhibition in Alice Springs and in 2017 and 2020 she was one of three judges for the Portrait of a Senior Territorian Art Award. In 2016 Marlene was the overall winner for the inaugural Vincent Lingiari Art Award Alice Springs with her self-portrait titled, My Future is in my Hands. In 2020 Marlene was the well deserving winner of the Lofty Awards, which celebrates an artist who has shown dedication and passion for maintaining a high standard of arts practice that builds the cultural voice of Central Australia. Marlene has been the president of the Yarrenyty Alrtere Housing Association and sits on the Board of Directors for Tangentyre Council.

Marlene's work is in various public and private collection such as the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the University of Newcastle Collection, the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Araluen Arts Centre, the National Gallery of Victoria, Maitland Regional Gallery and the Macquarie Group Collection.


Born 1960

Language Arrernte & Western Arrarnta

Region Mparntwe (Alice Springs)



  • 'Looking Back, Moving Forward', Watch This Space, Alice Springs



  • 'Yarrenyty Arltere Artists', EDWINA CORLETTE, Brisbane


  • 'Portrait23', National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
  • Short Street Gallery, Broome


  • 'Desert Mob', Araluen Cultural Project, Alice Springs
  • Sydney Contemporary, EDWINA CORLETTE, Carriageworks, Sydney
  • 'We are from Mparntwe, our ideas are from here and so is our art', Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide
  • 'Werte Canberra!', Beaver Galleries, Canberra
  • 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
  • 'Celebrate with Us How Much We Love to Make Art!', Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney
  • 'Town Camp Stories', Short St Gallery, Broome


  • Badu Gili: Wonder Woman animated soft sculpture on the sails of the Sydney Opera House in collaborating with Art Gallery NSW and Sydney Opera House
  • 'Nurna Yaarna Iltjerrama. Nurna Kutatha Mpaarama! (‘We can’t rest. We always/continue to make!)', Jam Factory as part of Tarnanthi 2021, Adelaide
  • Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs
  • 'Waltja Tjutja: Family', Salon Arts Project, Darwin
  • 'Looking back, Looking Forward: 21 Years of the Yarrenyty Arltere Learning Centre', Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
  • Vincent Lingiari Award, Tangentyere Artists Gallery, Alice Springs


  • NAIDOC Exhibition – Tangentyere Artists Gallery, Alice Springs
  • 'Our Art Makes Us Happy (we hope it makes you happy too!)', Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney
  • 'Joy', Art Gallery NSW, Sydney
  • 'Art of Women', EDWINA CORLETTE, Brisbane
  • Salon Des Refuse, Darwin
  • 'Trudy Said Mwerre!', Outstation Gallery, Darwin
  • SUMMER SALON – Artitja Fine Art Gallery, South Fremantle


  • Tangentyere Christmas Show
  • Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Gallery of South Australia
  • 'Looking for Pmara (Home)', Merricks General Store Gallery
  • Desert Mob Exhibition, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
  • 'From Country to Couture', Fashion Show Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, Darwin
  • Group Show, EDWINA CORLETTE, Brisbane
  • 'Arrentye Mamu-Monsters Monsters', Tangentyere Artists Gallery, Alice Springs
  • 'We Are Always Making Something From What We Have Salon', Arts Projects, Darwin
  • 'Short Street Exhibition', Short Street Gallery, Broome


  • 'Around and Within', Macquarie Group Collection Emerging Curator Exhibition, Sydney
  • Ancient Stories New Narratives: 21st Century Aboriginal Women’s Art from the Desert: New works from the Sims Dickson Collection
  • 'Tjina Mob', Tangentyere Artists Gallery, Alice Springs
  • Desert Mob, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
  • EDWINA CORLETTE, Sydney Contemporary Art Fair
  • Central Australia Aboriginal Textiles Exhibition – Tangentyere Artists Gallery
  • 'We use our Kapurta (heads) for looking after things', Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide
  • Sydney Biennale Exhibition, Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney
  • Yarrenyty Arltere Artists Group Exhibition, EDWINA CORLETTE, Brisbane
  • 'Works On Paper', Tangentyere Artists Gallery, Alice Springs
  • 'Women Telling Stories Arelhe Altyerre Ileme', Short St Gallery, Broome
  • Sydney Biennale, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney


  • Artbank Neon Light Sculpture Commission, Sydney
  • 'The Worlds We Stitch Together', Wynscreen moving picture project', Wynyard Station Sydney: in collaboration with Cultural Capital, NSW Transport and Leonardo Ortega
  • National Gallery of Victoria Design Triennial: In collaboration with Estudio Campana Elbow workshop and National Gallery of Victoria
  • Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Art Gallery of South Australia
  • Desert Mob, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
  • Arrweketye Mape Awethe Akine – Tangentyere Artists Gallery (Women Back Together Again)
  • 'Carved, Sewn and Thrown. Objectives from Remote Australia', Yaama Ganu Gallery, Moree
  • 'Together Our Stories Are Stronger', Merricks General Store, Victoria
  • 'Creature Collection', Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide
  • 'Where worlds come together', Nomad, Darwin


  • 'Deck the Walls', Tangentyere Artists Gallery, Alice Springs
  • 'Drawing from the Inside', Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney
  • Desert Mob, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
  • 'Beauty and the Beasts', Talapi Gallery, Alice Springs
  • Salon Des Refuses, Darwin
  • 'Arrweketye Mob: Women Mob', Tangentyere Artists Gallery, Alice Springs
  • 'Avatar', RAFT Art Space, Alice Springs
  • 'From our heads and our hands: stories told with colour', Red Dot Fine Art Gallery, Singapore
  • 'Outsider Art Fair', Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, New York


  • Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Gallery of South Australia
  • 'Selfies Exhibition', Tangentyere Artists Gallery, Alice Springs
  • Salon Des Refuses, Darwin
  • Desert Mob, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
  • 'Beautiful Days Making Art', Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney
  • 'We are in Wonder LAND', Gallery UNSW New experimental art from Central Australia
  • 'Tjulpu', Talapi Gallery, Alice Springs


  • 'Figuratively Speaking: Stories from Town Camp artists', Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney
  • Selfies Exhibition, Tangentyere Gallery, Alice Springs
  • 'We just keep on travelling further', Red Dot Gallery, Singapore
  • Desert Mob, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
  • 'This belongs to us, but we did it for you', Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne
  • Group Show, Aritija Fine Art, Fremantle



  • Finalist, Vincent Lingiari Award
  • Finalist, National Indigenous Fashion Awards, Special Recognition for Yarrenyty Arltere Artists


  • Winner, Lofty Art Awards, Alice Springs


  • Finalist, Vincent Lingiari Art Award
  • Finalist, Telstra NATSIAA, MAGNT Darwin


  • Finalist, Telstra NATSIAA, MAGNT Darwin


  • Winner, Vincent Lingiari Award, Alice Springs


  • Finalist, Togart Contemporary Art Award, Darwin


Macquarie Group Collection

May 24, 2023


Arrernte and Western Arrarnta artist Marlene Rubuntja alongside Arrernte and Southern Luritja artist Sally M Nangala Mulda have developed their practice to be completely recognisable and representative of the place in which they live, Mparntwe/Alice Springs. Working from Tangentyere Artists and Yarrenyty Arltere Artists (art centres), these senior women have established themselves as two of Australia’s leading visual artists.

The third Artbank + ACMI Commission, Two Girls From Amoonguna, encompasses video, soft sculpture and paintings, with the centerpiece the animated work titled Arrkutja Tharra, Kungka Kutjara, Two Girls.

Arrkutja Tharra, Kungka Kutjara, Two Girls delves into the reality of First Peoples’ experiences in Central Australia by chronicling the artists’ successes and struggles. The work centres Sally and Marlene’s voices, as well as the voices of their younger family members, who can be heard in the animation. It was made in collaboration with Ludo Studio, the Emmy-award winning production company behind Bluey, Robbie Hood and The Strange Chores, along with script writer Courtney Collins, Left of Elephant Sound and Tangentyere Artists producer Ellanor Webb.

Figures from Marlene’s soft sculptures and Sally’s acrylic on linen paintings star in the animation, embedded on top of Marlene’s ink on paper works of the Central Australian landscape. Bringing together both artists’ practice, Sally’s iconic cursive painted lettering produce the subtitles.

Having grown up at the Amoonguna Settlement outside of Mparntwe/Alice Springs in the early 1960s, the two friends wouldn’t reconnect until much later in life, after both of them had seen their fair amount of hardships; now having achieved so much, they are immensely proud of one another.

Two Girls from Amoonguna is an exhibition about two of Australia’s leading artists and their journey to get there.

Watch Two Girls from Amoonguna HERE

Read more HERE