Martuwarra (River Country) - Sonia Kurarra Solo

ReDot Fine Art Gallery
Feb 27, 2014 9:02AM

The ReDot Fine Art Gallery is very proud to announce the first ever overseas solo exhibition for the exciting new talent of Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Sonia Kurarra, with a simple named show called Martuwarra (River Country).

Sonia is a Walmajarri woman who paints the sandy billabong country on a small stretch of the Fitzroy River directly behind Yungngora community. She relates in her paintings to her birth country, Martuwarra (River Country) rather than her ancestral home of the Great Sandy Desert.

Her artworks are created organically and without preconceived conceptions, and it is through her artworks that she shares the eco systems of the Fitzroy River and her connection to this land.  Her first stroke creates the work, both in composition and subject. Early motifs and fishes are large and bold, though as the canvas dissipates, smaller and smaller elongated fish are squeezed into the confines of the picture plane.

Her motifs are repeated over and over again and it is through this process that she often loses sight of her reference points, requiring prompting as to the subject matter or in her frustrations painting something entirely different to the previous layer.

Through her continuous layering, repetition and overlapping of colours and motifs the imagery blurs. This abstraction of the figurative form often creates unattainable subject matter for both the viewer and the artist. Kurarra paints intuitively and with a sense of immediacy, creating energetic and rhythmic images which share both her connection to country and the strength of her character. She paints seated and with the canvas strewn out horizontally before her, concentrating only on the subject at hand letting the composition unfold unrestricted. It is only when the middle cannot be reached does she request a vertical position, revealing the work in its entirety for the first time, often met with a nod of approval or thumbs up.

To watch her paint is mesmerising, the broad sweep of her brush scribes her country with exact confidence, layer upon layer.  The exuberance of her character, falling in and out of meditative state, as she reflects back on her birthplace and country whilst meticulously covering the canvas and occasionally breaking into song is heart-warming. Etched in her psyche Kurarra’s practice is a requirement within herself, a scripture denoting her connection to country, which she embraces without hesitation through her artistic practices.

The exhibition opens on Wednesday, 9th April and runs till Saturday, 10th May 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.  

ReDot Fine Art Gallery
Get the Artsy app
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play
Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019