Following on from last year’s release of works from
the estate of Paji Wajina Honeychild Yankarr, ReDot Fine Art Gallery is honoured and
excited to be able to announce the estates and final works of three other senior
women from the same community, the highly esteemed Wakartu Cory Surprise, Nyuju
Stumpy Brown and Walka Molly Rogers.
Simply titled ‘Cory/Molly/Stumpy’, this exhibition will celebrate their amazing talents with works both on canvas and paper, dating back over 20 years, blatant records of desert country with the recurring theme being the Jila (waterhole) of various sites in the Great Sandy Desert which is one of the major ancestral areas for their people.
All three women were founding members of Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency in the early nineties and first exhibited work in the exhibition ‘Karrayili’ in Tandanya, Adelaide, 1991. They were also represented in Images of Power: Aboriginal Art of the Kimberley, National Gallery of Victoria, 1993. They instantly gained national recognition and became part of the core group of artists at the art centre who continued to paint and exhibit consistently throughout the 1990s and 2000s with their domestic appeal soon moving internationally. Cory and Stumpy eventually became two of the best known Indigenous artists in Australia and Molly creating a solid fan base for her whimsical portraits of Kimberley waterholes.
They also jointly worked on the two eminent Ngurrara canvases in 1997, which were pivotal in proving the group’s connection to country and later led to their successful Ngurrara Native Title Claim.
Nyuju’s effervescent, intuitive and brightly hued paintings reflect a spritely and engaging character that belies the hardships and cultural dislocation that she experienced in her long life. Wakartu on the other hand came to painting relatively late in life, at around the age of 50, after many years of rigorous station work. There’s nothing overly typical though about Wakartu’s paintings. In a community and art centre acclaimed for both its large-scale collaborations and major individual talents, Wakartu wielded a powerful blend of no-nonsense seniority and sheer, expressive originality. Walka blended effortlessly between the pair, contrasting, complimenting and threading together the complex stories these women had to tell.
Wakartu’s bold compositions, restricted palette and sheer expressive originality had her admirers proclaiming her among Australia’s foremost abstract painters, Nyuju and Walka sat very close by on this scale.
A never to be repeated show, there are over 50 works, from major canvases to exquisite small works on paper, capturing one of the most important bodies of Indigenous work to have left Australia in many years.
The exhibition opens on Wednesday, 13th August and runs till Saturday, 13th September 2014 and it is a must-see for anyone interested in following the development of modern contemporary Indigenous art, from one of the Aboriginal art movements most refreshing and innovative art centres.