May 13 – August 21, 2016
Yimardoowarra: Artist of the River is a career survey of the Aboriginal Australian elder Loongkoonan. At 105 years of age, Loongkoonan is one of Australia’s oldest living contemporary artists. Her paintings are intricate depictions of her homeland in remote Western Australia. She is an important matriarch of the Nyikina people and one of the last speakers of their critically endangered language. Her paintings are important chronicles of the unique Aboriginal Australian understanding of place. This exhibition charts the extraordinarily dense late-life career of an Indigenous woman who has brought a century of memory, tradition, and spirituality to her art practice.
Loongkoonan was born around 1910 at Mount Anderson Station near the Fitzroy River in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. In 2004, at age 95, she began painting at Manambarra Aboriginal Artists, an arts workshop in Derby. Her shimmering depictions of bush foods and land around the Fitzroy River received immediate acclaim, being exhibited in every state and territory of Australia. In 2006 Loongkoonan was awarded first prize in the Redlands Art Award, and in 2007 she received the Indigenous Award at the Drawing Together Art Awards at the National Archives of Australia. Her works have inspired a new generation of Nyikina artists, and are held in the collections of Australian Parliament House, Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Berndt Museum of Anthropology at the University of Western Australia, Macquarie University and the Department of Indigenous Affairs in Canberra.
This exhibition will be closed for installation from Monday, May 30th – Friday, June 10th, 2016. During this time the only exhibition on display will be Yimardoowarra: Artist of the River
Art and Country is a diverse selection of works on canvas, paper and eucalyptus bark drawn from the Kluge-Ruhe’s permanent collection. The exhibition explores the range of ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists develop and maintain relationships with “country,” their homeland. Many artists represent features of the landscape to communicate their ongoing connection to their ancestral land and the Dreaming. Other artists raise awareness about the dispossession of country as a result of colonization or investigate the importance of story and personal memory. Throughout the exhibition visitors are invited to reflect upon their own connections to land and place.
On view in the lobby of the Fralin Museum of Art is an acrylic painting by David Hall Tjangala. A selection of seventeen objects, including sculpture, bark paintings and musical instruments are on display in the Fralin’s Object Study Gallery on the second floor.