Sahjeevan and Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) are jointly hosting the ‘Living Lightly: Journeys with Pastoralists’, a Curated Exhibition of the Life and Livelihood of Pastoralists in India, at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi from 2nd to 18th December 2016.

The 17 day curated traveling exhibition on the land, lives, and livelihoods of Pastoralists in India will capture the lives of Indian pastoralists – their remarkable history of mobility, the eco-systems which nurture their life-world, their culture, science, art, spiritual moorings and the economics of herding. It is being organized with the intent to provide space for the voices of pastoral communities, the exhibition will investigate the changing narratives around pastoralism in India, explore the relevance of herding and herders for environmental conservation, and engage in cultural mapping to unfold the various aspects of these communities’ cultural identities. The exhibition will unfold through a host of events and exhibits including pastoral crafts, music, film, and oral narrative performances. Sushma Iyengar is the lead curator of the Exhibition and has spent the last three years putting together the elements central to the exhibition.

The exhibition will be inaugurated by Shri Radha Mohan Singh, Honourable Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India, at 5 PM on 2nd December 2016 and will be attended by Pastoralists, NGO functionaries, Academicians, Government Officials, and Policy Makers from across India.

We take this opportunity to invite you to attend the Inaugural Function of the Living Lightly Exhibition on 2nd December 2016, and the other events that are planned from 2nd to 18th December. The Inaugural invite, a general event invite, along with a calendar of events to be held during the Exhibition are attached for your reference. Please share this with your friends and family.



“My work is interested in the transformative and reciprocal nature of desert landscapes, places of
wilderness which inspire in some people a particular type of connection to country. It is more than a
way of living or a spiritual restorative, it is a deeper type of nourishment, a symbiotic and intricate
relationship to the natural world which offers a sense of personal identity and meaning. The Maldhari
herders of Kachchh, the Rann and Rajasthan regions of far north-west India are some of the last truly
authentic exemplifiers of this inclusive relationship. 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.
The ancient idea of nomadism, of walking the land with animals according to the terrain, the ecology,
and the daily and seasonal rhythms is a very intimate gathering of knowledge, an environmental Ground
Truth. It is also a fundamental human instinct as important as that of story and myth in the human

                                                              Today, however, it is less and less possible for the world’s desert peoples to move freely across                                                                  their traditional lands and routes. Many rights of passage have been lost and living on these lands is
becoming increasingly complicated and fraught with dangers. Under intensifying pressures on their way
of life in the wake of technology driven global development, the Maldhari have exhibited a remarkable
tenacity that is a testament to the cultural and spiritual importance of this people-place relationship and
the human desire for this intricate connection to the natural world. The real value of their lives is not
only in their inherent understanding of the land, but also the living link they provide to historic
indigenous worlds. They offer a completely original contradiction to the global corruption and
homogenisation of art and culture.

In Australia there is a direct living link to this nomadic spirit and cultural heritage of the Maldhari that
stretches back to 1860 when camels were first brought to the continent from India for inland
explorations in the central deserts. Although the cameleering tradition is a threatened heritage
worldwide, I have spent the last ten years as an Expedition Artist walking into remote empty inland
country alongside a traditional camel string. I gather my knowledge on foot, reaching deep into the
whole context of the land, alert to all the details it holds. There are still things that only the human eye
can see and only the human hand can record. My role as an artist is to not only represent what is seen,
but also the unseen.

I have discovered that the people-place relationship to desert landscapes is very particular. There is a
certain instinct that nomadism, walking and living lightly on these lands inspires. As a fellow desert
traveller, the opportunity to know and work with the Maldhari and their culture was an invaluable
experience. We share a special affinity, a collegiality through our relationship to desert lands and our
instinctive artistic compulsions. The experience has given me a much more profound understanding of
the importance of my own contribution in describing the elusive primary sense that lies in the alliance
to the natural world. It has illuminated the extraordinary value of the art and cultural material that flows
from some of the most seemingly harsh and inhospitable places on the planet.”

Jo Bertini
November 2016

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Olsen Irwin would like to extend a big congratulations to Alan Jones for being a finalist and to Jo Bertini for receiving runner up in the 2016 Paddington Art Prize. Bertini was also awarded the UNSW Art & Design Award, allowing her to work on a future project with master print maker Michael Kempson of internationally renowned Cicada Press. The award was presented by Wayne Tunnicliffe from the Art Gallery NSW last night at the Paddington Art Prize. The prize runs from 20 October till 30 October at 111-113 Queen Street, Woollahra, 2025.

groundwater-gum-153cm-diamter-oil-on-board-2016Jo Bertini, Groundwater Gum (2016), oil on board, 153cm diameter.




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Jo Bertini | Paintings of the Desert – Sydney Morning Herald

An article about Jo Bertini’s love affair with the desert is in the Sydney Morning Herald. Jo Bertini has been going on expeditions into rural areas of Australia for the last decade, recording the existence of some truly unique and isolated places with pen and pencil.

“In the desert, Bertini works oblivious to sunburn and exhaustion. Walking beside the camels, she is rarely without sketchbook and pencils. When a scene strikes her, she flops down on a sandhill to make rapid pencil marks on the page; ragged horizon, undulations, a spindly tree here, spinifex there, before shading to capture the contrast between light and dark.” – Sydney Morning Herald

Not only does the article convey Bertini’s enthusiasm to create art, it also communicates her enthusiasm for the desert itself.

“For an artist [the desert] is like the pot of gold,” Bertini says. “There is a sense of time, there is this sense of the enormity of space, you have a real understanding of Australia’s vastness as a continent, which you can’t comprehend when you are on the periphery, on the coast.” – Sydney Morning Herald.

For Bertini the desert is the place where she feels most at home, where she feels most at peace. It is only natural then that her art is centered around experiences in the Australian wilderness, her passion for both art and the landscape driving each other.

An exhibition of Jo’s latest works is currently on at Olsen Irwin until January.

You can read the entire article here

Jo Bertini ‘Terra Incognita”
10 December 2014 – January 2015
Olsen Irwin
63 Jersey Road, Woollahra


Explorer’s Sketchbook, 2014, Ink and Graphite on Paper, 42 x 51cm


Red River Country, 2014, oil on canvas, 138 x 168cm


Jo Bertini | Country Style

Ahead of her new exhibition ‘Terra Incognita” at Olsen Irwin, it is useful to look at the artist’s studio where many of the works in the show came into being. Country Style magazine featured the artist’s gorgeous home and studio in August, and in fact many of the paintings pictured in the article have made it onto the walls of the gallery space for the exhibition. Written and styled by Karen Cotton and with photographs by Simon Kenny, the article gives a great introduction to Bertini’s Southern Tablelands home and workspace.

“Wallaburra was 16 hectares on a creek with all of the original buildings from its days as a 1200-hectare sheepstation,” she says. “But the big drawcard was the shearing shed, which I could picture as my studio. Even though the house was derelict, and occupied by roos and wombats, it had so much potential I bought it immediately.” – Jo Bertini, Country Style

“Terra Incognita” will run until December the 21st, 2014.

Jo Bertini “Terra Incognita”
10 – 21 December 2014
Opening Saturday 13 December 2-4pm
Olsen Irwin Gallery 63 Jersey Road, Woollahra

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Screen shot 2014-12-12 at 2.27.37 PM


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Jo Bertini | Auction for SEAM Fund

Jo Bertini has donated a work to be auctioned for charity for  SEAM fund, a literacy project active in remote communities in Papua New Guinea. Founded by writer Drusilla Modjeska and architect  Stephen Collier, SEAM fund aims to reverse the low standard of adult literacy in these areas through providing educational resources and support.

The work will be auctioned off on the 17th of November at the Australian Institute of Architects.

You can learn more about the great work SEAM fund does here.

SEAM fund literacy project auction
Monday 17 November, 6pm
Australian Institute of Architects
3 Manning St, Potts Point, NSW


Jo Bertini, Untitled, oil on canvas, 2014, 60 x 60cm

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Jo Bertini, Tamara Dean and Sophie Cape | Portia Geach Memorial Award 2014

A big congratulations to Sophie Cape, Jo Bertini and Tamara Dean, who have all been picked as finalists in the Portia Geach Memorial Award for 2014, to be exhibited at the National Trust S.H Ervine Gallery.

The annual award exhibits contemporary portraiture by Australian women artists and is recognised as a significant celebration of the talents and creativity of Australian female painters.

The prize was founded by Florence Kate Geach in memory of her sister Portia Geach with the first award being given in 1965. Portia was a strong campaigner of women’s rights and intent on painting at the highest standard, despite the lack of opportunities given to women artists in Australia during the first half of the 20th Century.

Portia Geach Memorial Award:
7 November – 14 December 2014
National Trust S.H Ervine Gallery
2 Watson Rd, Millers Point NSW 2000


Trail Blazer : Bone Collector -Through_Desert_Eyes. Oil on canvas 91x91cm_Small

Jo Bertini, Trail Blazer / Bone Collector -Through Desert Eyes, 2014, oil on canvas, 91 x 91cm

Romper Stomper_Dan Wyllie

Sophie Cape, Romper Stomper (Dan Wyllie), 2014, oil, acrylic, bitumen, charcoal, ink and soil on canvas, 209 x 203cm


Tamara Dean, Mirra, 2014, oil on canvas, 46 x 36cm


Jo Bertini | Wild Wild West, Exhibition

An exhibition of Jo Bertini’s works is currently on show at Cowra Regional Art Gallrey. The artworks in Wild Wild West are a result of Bertini’s long involvement with the Australian landscape, particularly desert and remote regions of Australia.

Not only is the land an important feature of this exhibition, but so too is the role that Bertini performs as a female artist within this space.

“As an artist, I know I see differently out there. My senses are uninterrupted, clear and unencumbered by distractions. I have observed also how others are affected the longer they live in these places. I am particularly interested in the traditional role of women as explorers, in frontier country and in very remote inaccessible environments. I know that as the sole female ‘Expedition Artist’ to these areas, my experiences, and observations and the material I collect and paintings I produce will have a unique and different perspective.” – Jo Bertini

Over the last ten years, Jo has adventured extensively in and around these desert landscapes for six to twelve weeks at a time annually. Her great familiarity with the Australian land is manifest in the paintings she produces. As Anne Flanagan, Deputy Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales writes in the catalogue, “Jo’s Palette is loaded with a deep knowingness of place and people.”

Wild Wild West
11 October – 16 November
Cowra Regional Art Gallery
77 Darling Street, Cowra, NSW, 2794

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Jo Bertini, Drylands and Bloodwood, 2014, oil on canvas, 112 x 122cm

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Jo Bertini, Down the Diamantina, 2014, oil on canvas, 112 x 122cm



Jo Bertini | Country Style

Jo Bertini‘s beautiful home and studio in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales has been featured in Country Style magazine. The article, written and styled by Karen Cotton and photographed by Simon Kenny, gives us a great insight into Bertini’s rural paradise.

“Wallaburra was 16 hectares on a creek with all of the original buildings from its days as a 1200-hectare sheepstation,” she says. “But the big drawcard was the shearing shed, which I could picture as my studio. Even though the house was derelict, and occupied by roos and wombats, it had so much potential I bought it immediately.” – Jo Bertini, Country Style

Bertini will present an exhibition of new work at Olsen Irwin in December 2014.

Jo Bertini
New works
10 December 2014 – January 2015

Olsen Irwin
63 Jersey Road
Woollahra NSW 2025

JoBertini_proof-2 JoBertini_proof-3


Mosman Art Prize 2014 | Finalists

Congratulations to Olsen Irwin artists Jo Bertini, Anh Do, Robert Malherbe, Angus McDonald, Caroline Rannersberger and Paul Ryan for selection as a finalist in the Mosman Art Prize. The official opening for the exhibition of the finalists works and the announcement of the winner will take place on the evening of Thursday 31 July 2014 at the Mosman Art Gallery.

“Now in its 67th year, the Mosman Art Prize is one of the oldest and most prestigious municipally funded visual art prizes in Australia. It is an annual, acquisitive award for painting sponsored by Mosman Municipal Council.” – Mosman Art Gallery

Mosman Art Prize
26 July – 7 September 2014

Mosman Art Gallery
Cnr Art Gallery Way and Myahgah Rd
Mosman NSW 2088


Paul Ryan, Blue boy and dog, oil on linen, 102 x 102 cm, 2014 – Finalist in the Mosman Art Prize


Angus McDonald, Ray of Light, Oil on canvas, 75 x 125cm, 2014 – Finalist in the Mosman Art Prize


Robert Malherbe, A Walk to the Gallery, Oil on linen, 66 x 56cm, 2013 – Finalist in the Mosman Art Prize


Caroline Rannersberger, Towards Cloudy Corner, Oil on Belgian linen, 3 x [97 x 39.5cm], 2013 – finalist in the Mosman Art Prize


Jo Bertini | Anh Do | Paul Ryan | Percival Portrait Painting Prize

Jo BertiniPaul Ryan and Anh Do and have all been named as finalists in the 2014 Glencore Percival Portrait Painting Prize. The finalists’ work is currently being exhibited at the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery in Townsville until 13 July 2014.

Glencore Percival Portrait Painting Prize
Finalists’ exhibition
09 May – 13 Jul 2014

Perc Tucker Regional Gallery
Corner of Denham Street and Flinders Mall
Townsville QLD 4810

Jo Bertini, Explorers(Peter-&-Jhumpa), Oil on canvas, 122 x 112cm

Jo Bertini, Explorers – Peter & Jhumpa (The best legs in the desert), 2013, Oil on canvas, 122 x 112cm

Anh Do, Ronnie, 2014

Anh Do, Ronnie, 2014, Oil on canvas, 152 x 122cm

Paul Ryan, Fieldsy, 2014, Oil on linen, 220 x 200

Paul Ryan, Fieldsy, 2014, Oil on linen, 220 x 200