Susan Marawarr 'Untitled' bark 1610x490mm
Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 11.06.11
Location: Art Atrium Gallwrey, 181 Old South Head Road, Bondi, NSW 2022
The incomparable former art director at Maningrida in western Arnhemland– Apolline Kohen – was both very fond of the Kurulk clan group of painters attached to the art centre and cognisant of the fact that no art centre could reply entirely on a couple of senior superstars like John Mawurndjul and Samuel Namundja.
So, from 2006, she was encouraging the offspring of the amazing trio of brothers, Mawurndjul, Jimmy Njiminjuma and James Iyuna to enter the painting business and develop their own styles. Exhibitions like 'Mumeka to Milmilngkan' at the Drill Hall Gallery in Canberra (Nov/Dec 2006), 'Dream Tracks' at the Lafontaine Centre for Contemporary Art in Bahrain (Mar/April 2006) and 'Rarrk – London' (Sept/Oct 2007) began the blooding process.
Now that Kohen has moved on from Maningrida, it's good to see the youngsters standing on their own feet and holding an exhibition without the implicit imprimature of their elders. This show at Art Atrium Gallery near Sydney's Bondi Junction – called appropriately Dawning - is quite explicitly the next generation of rising stars from Maningrida - Irenie Nagalinba, Susan Marawarr, Elyssa Cameron, Hamish Karrkarrhba, Emmanuel Wurrkidj, Debra Wurrkidj, Annie Wurrkidj, Roberta Yulyul Wurrkidj and Dion Wurrkidj. Marawarr, by the way, is an acceptee in this year's NATSIA Awards
The exhibition opening will be launched by Jennifer Isaacs on Sat 11 June 2.30pm
I first met Simon Chan from Art Atrium a couple of years ago in Darwin when he was scouting the indigenous art world for supplies of art worth exhibiting. It takes time. And in the meantime, he's developed an alternative line in Chinese art – such as the recent show from Wollongong's Laurens Tan, all made since he decamped to that hyper-hub of the new art world – Beijing. But he told me that 'Dawning' will be “The first of many Aboriginal art exhibitions from the community art centres that we will be holding in the years to come, as I strongly believe in supporting the art centres in promoting Aboriginal art which will benefit the community from which it comes. On that basis, it will be great to have a successful exhibition on behalf of the artists”.
Hamish Karrkarrhba 'Untitled' bark 1320x370mm