Shirley Purdie paints, as she says, “to tell stories and to pass the stories and paintings along to my family and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.” These are ancestral stories of Country and Ngarranggarni (Dreaming), but also sites and moments that resonate with Purdie, from her birthplace of Mabel Downs Station to her family history. A senior Gija artist from the Warmun community in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, Purdie is influenced by acclaimed Kimberley artists. “There was Queenie McKenzie and Uncle Jack Britten and Rover Thomas, and my mother Madigan Thomas,” she says. McKenzie and Madigan Thomas were among the first women artists to paint at Warmun in the early 1980s—then later, in the 1990s, Uncle Jack Britten said to Purdie, “You like to paint? I can get you a board and you do a painting.” Purdie says she “just went from there”. She now has a two-decade practice and is known for her rich use of ochre that is collected on Country. — Tiarney Miekus for ART GUIDE.
Opening: 23 March 2022, 5 – 7pm.
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