ARTEFACTS: The woman behind the sgraffito technique

Collection Highlight

Malpiya Davey b.1959, Wayanu (quandong) 2006, Earthenware, underglaze and glaze, Purchased 2006, Grafton Regional Gallery Collection
Malpiya Davey b.1959, Wayanu (quandong) 2006, Earthenware, underglaze and glaze, Purchased 2006, Grafton Regional Gallery Collection

Malpiya Davey b.1959
Wayanu (quandong)   2006
Earthenware, underglaze and glaze
Purchased 2006
Grafton Regional Gallery Collection

Malpiya Davey has lived in Ernabella most of her life. She has five daughters and a son and numerous grandchildren and is best known for her ceramic artworks, but she also does painting, printmaking and weaving.  Malpiya's mother's and father's country is to the west of Ernabella near the Western Australian border in country between Watarru and Iltur; and her paintings are often about this country.  Malpiya's mark making is based around the depiction of traditional bush foods such as "kampurarpa" edible berries, "wayanu" quandong and "unturngu" bush banana.

This beautiful sgraffito ceramic is indicative of the artist's ceramic practice and is part of the gallery's developing collection of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artwork.

Since Ernabella Arts opened its on-site ceramic studio in 2003 Malpiya has been one of the most enthusiastic and prolific ceramic workers there. She has pioneered sgraffito technique and made it her specialty. Sgraffito is a term used to describe a technique of ceramic decoration that involves painting a coat of a coloured slip onto a leatherhard pot then carving through the slip to reveal the clay colour below. Her works have been acquired by major collectors as well as Araluen and Flinders University Art Museum


Summer Sensations is a vibrant exhibition celebrates artists of the Clarence Valley and their wonderful creative contribution to the cultural vibrancy of the area. The exhibition Summer Sensations was inspired by the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London;The Summer Exhibition that has been running continuously since 1769 is the world's largest open submission art show that brings together art in all mediums - prints and paintings, film, photography, sculpture, architectural works and more, by leading artists, Royal Academicians and household names as well as new and emerging talent.

Grafton Regional Gallery is committed to supporting all artists from our region and this is the second exhibition in an ongoing annual project to celebrate the creative talent of the Clarence Valley. We hope this project grows to be a draw card for the region and becomes a regular highlight of the Northern Rivers art trail.

This open submission exhibition showcases artwork across all mediums and features artwork from emerging and established artists and is on display until 1:00pm on 24 December at Grafton Regional Gallery.

Christmas gifts from The Gallery Foundation

This Christmas, treat someone you care about to a memorable gift, while supporting the visual arts in the Clarence Valley. We have three luxurious products on offer: two fabulous hampers crammed with hand-crafted food and lip-smacking tipples, plus our signature linen blend tea towel, printed in Yamba. This fundraising initiative supports Grafton Regional Gallery infrastructure and acquisitions. Shipping within Australia can be added at check out. For destinations outside Australia, contact us for a quote. We recommend ordering before 9th December to ensure delivery by Christmas. To order your gift and support this great fundraiser visit


Whiteman Creek Pottery Xmas Workshop Sale: Geoff Crispin's wood-fired porcelain and stoneware

Geoff Crispin is a well-known ceramist based on the Clarence Valley.  Pieces are available from the last of the big kiln firings and a smaller number  from the initial firing of the new kiln. The pots are made from a mix of local and commercially available materials.  Carved, combed, fluted and sgraffito decoration combined with wood ash, celadon, chun and golden teadust glazes. 12th and 13th December from 10am - 5pm. The pottery is located approximately 23km north west of Grafton on the way to Copmanhurst. Signs will be in place at various points to assist clients to navigate their way to the pottery.

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