The Aboriginal art community of Wangkatjungka is located at the northern end of the Canning Stock route, some 120 kilometres south-east of Fitzroy Crossing, and 200 kilometres south-west of Halls Creek. The community formed over the years following the establishment of the Canning Stock Route, with an exodus of Aboriginal people following it north from the Great Sandy Desert and beyond.
A survey exhibition of works by senior Wangkatjungka women, currently showing at the Kate Owen Gallery in Rozelle, recalls their ancestral lands. Focusing on two artists, Biddee Baadjo and Nada Rawlins, the exhibition centres on depictions of the geographical features so significant to the Wangkatjungka people, such as waterholes, salt lakes, and the sandhills of the Great Sandy Desert. According to gallery owner Kate Owen, even though Biddee has lived in the East Kimberley region, far from her Great Sandy Desert homelands, for nearly 60 years, “her memories run deep, and are expressed in these hauntingly beautiful works.”
Rawlins’ works, meanwhile, feature the artist’s characteristic soft dotting style of alternating hues, giving the impression of a ‘floating’ picture, suspended on a shifting sea of colour and light. “For the patient viewer, the depth and dimension of the works is slowly revealed in the ever-changing effects of colour and light,” Ms Owen said.
The exhibition runs throughout the remainder of April until May 2 at the Kate Owen Gallery, 680 Darling Street, Rozelle.