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Sonia Kurarra

Martuwarra - River


Aboriginal & Pacific Art is delighted to present

Sonia Kurarra Martuwarra - River in association with Mangkaja Arts, Fitzroy Crossing, WA

27 May – 19 June 2021

Cover page: Sonia Kurarra, Martuwarra, Acyrlic on canvas, 120 x 90 cm Next page: Courtesy Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency


Sonia was born by a billabong at Noonkanbah community. Her parents were Walmajarri whose movements led them to live by the Fitzroy River. Sonia has lived most her life at Noonkanbah. A compulsive artist, Sonia for a long time was a teacher’s aid at the local school where she facilitated art making with the children. Illustrative of her attachment to the country where she grew up, an intimate life with the river, Sonia’s art is a saturation of river country motifs, be it parlka (barramundi), brim, tortoise, stingray, pandanus trees or the water itself. “Martuwarra is my river country; this painting is all about the Fitzroy River which flows down through Noonkanbah where I live. All kinds of fish live in the water, we catch big mob of fish here. I like Parlka (barramundi). We catch catfish and brim here too. Nganku (shark), Wirritunany (sawfish) and Stingray also live here. These fish live in these waters long after the flood has gone. Also this painting is about barramundi swimming on the surface of the water, you can also see the Wakiri (pandanus tree) and rocks all around. When the barramundi get tired they go back into the rock holes. These rock holes hold all the Parlka (barramundi) that live in the river. Kalpurtu (creator serpent-type being) also live in these rock holes and swim all around the Palma (creeks) and all around the Wakiri that grows in the river.”


Martuwarra Acrylic on canvas, 120 x 90 cm 114/21


Martu Acrylic on canv 29/


uwarra vas, 180 x 95 cm /21


Martu Acrylic on canv 297


uwarra vas, 180 x 60 cm 7/20


Martu Acrylic on canv 109


uwarra vas, 180 x 60 cm 9/21


Martu Acrylic on canv 30/


uwarra vas, 180 x 60 cm /21


Martu Acrylic on canv 31/


uwarra vas, 180 x 60 cm /21


Martu Acrylic on canv 107


uwarra vas, 120 x 90 cm 7/21


Martu Acrylic on canv 108


uwarra vas, 120 x 90 cm 8/21


SONIA KURARRA Biography Skin: Nampiyinti Language: Walmajarri Country: Noonkanbah DOB: c. 1952 Sonia Kurarra grew up in the river country at Yungngora (Noonkanbah). As a young woman she assisted with teaching art to children at the Yungngora Kindergarten. They used to take the children out to the Sandy Billabong and teach them how to paint and dance. There is an ngarrangkarni [Dreamtime] snake that lives in the billabong. His name is Nangurra. Sonia began painting at Mangkaja in the early 1990s working mostly on paper. Since 2008, Sonia has been working predominantly on canvas and her practice has become more recognised and included in major awards. Sonia’s work is now in most major collections within Australia and highly sought after by both national and international galleries and collectors. Sonia paints the sandy billabong country along the stretch of the Fitzroy River that runs directly behind the community. After the food waters recede, there are billabongs that hold a plentiful supply of parlka [barramundi], kurlumajarti [catish] and bream. She paints gapi [fish], parrmarr [rocks] where the Fish is cooked, ngurti [coolamon] and a karli [boomerang]. Sonia paints these images over and over as though they are etched into her psyche; works that are linear representations in monotones and others that are layers lathered on with wild and confident brush strokes and mark making. These contemporary compositions display an outstanding understanding of colour and composition. Sonia is one of the cornerstones of Mangkaja Arts and contemporary art making for the Fitzroy Valley region.


AWARDS 2020 37th Telstra NATSIAA Award Finalist, 2019 36th Telstra NATSIAA Award Finalist, 2019 Dobell Drawing Prize 2018 Hadley’s Art Prize Finalist, 2018 35th Telstra NATSIAA Award Finalist, 2018 Wynne Art Prize Finalist, 2016 Port Hedland Art Awards 2015 BankWest Art Prize 2015 Overall winner – 2012 Winner of Most Outstanding Work 2010 Winner of Best Indigenous work 2010 Winner of Best Indigenous work

Darwin, NT Darwin, NT Sydney, NSW Hobart, Tas Darwin, NT Sydney, NSW Port Hedland, WA Perth, WA Kimberley Art Prize Hedland Art Awards WA Art Awards Hedland Art Awards

SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2020 Sonia Kurarra 2016 SONIA 2014 Sonia Kurarra 2014 Sonia Kurarra 2013 Sonia Kurarra 2012/13 Sonia Kurarra 2012 Sonia Kurarra 2011 Sonia Kurarra 2010 Sonia Kurarra 2009 Sonia Kurarra 2009 Sonia Kurarra 2009 Sonia Kurarra

Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney, NSW Hanging Valley, QVC, Melbourne, Vic ReDot Fine Art Gallery, Singapore Gabrielle Pizzi Gallery, Melbourne, Vic Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney, NSW FORM Gallery, Perth, WA Gabrielle Pizzi Gallery, Melbourne, Vic Short St Gallery, Broome , WA Randall Lane Fine Art, Perth, WA Randell Lane Fine Art, Perth, WA Gallery Gondwana, Sydney, NSW Short St Gallery, Broome , WA

GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2020 Mangkaja Perspex Aboriginal Contemporary, Sydney 2019 Creative Growth Artists Outsider Art Fair NYC 2019 Journey through Culture-Tarnanthi Redot @Nrthspace, Adelaide 2019 Meeting Places: Mangkaja Arts and Creative Growth, Creative Growth Oakland, CA 2019 The National 2019 MCA Sydney 2019 Desert River Sea AGWA Perth 2018 Two Sisters Aboriginal Pacific Art Sydney 2017 Mangkaja Artists – Tanarnthi Art Gallery of South Australia, SA 2017 Mangkaja Waters Short St Gallery, Broome, WA 2016 PINAKARRILUNY MARNALUNYA ReDot Fine Art Gallery, Singapore 2016 NGALIMPAKURA ARTISTS JARLU PALU WANTINYA 2015 Salon De Refuse Darwin, NT 2015 Bankwest Art Prize, Perth, WA 2015 Tarnathi Tandanya Adelaide, SA 2015 Salon de Refuse, Darwin, NT 2014 Kimberley Art Prize, Derby, WA


GROUP EXHIBITIONS CONTINUED 2013 Bankwest Art Prize Bankwest Art Gallery, Perth, WA 2011 Australian and Torres Strait Islander Award, Museum of Northern Territory, Darwin, NT 2011 Sonia Kurarra and Cory Surprise, Aboriginal and Pacific Art, NSW 2009 Mangkaja Artists 60x60 Randell Lane Fine Art, Perth, WA 2009 Sharing Difference on Common Ground Holmes a Court Gallery, Perth, WA and Kimberley Aboriginal Artists 2009 Shalom Gamarada Caspary Conference Centre, University of NSW 2009 East Meets West Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT 2009 Senior Artists from Fitzroy Crossing Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, Brisbane 2009 Mangkaja Survey Show Short St Gallery, Broome, WA 2009 Emerging and Re-emerging Outstation, Darwin, NT 2009 Margaret River Meets Fitzroy Crossing Tunbridge Gallery, Margaret River, WA 2008 Bendi Lango The Indigenous Scholarship Fund, Sydney and Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, QLD 2008 Mangkaja Artists WA Randell Lane Fine Art, WA 2008 Women on Country Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, Brisbane 2008 Divas of The Desert Gallery Gondwana, Sydney, NSW 2008 Marnintu Maparnana [Women Painting] ReDot Gallery, Singapore 2008 Wet n’ Wild Artkelch, Freiburg, Germany 2007 Bendi Lango The Indigenous Scholarship Fund, Sydney and Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, QLD 2007 Women Artists of Fitzroy Crossing Raft Artspace, Darwin, NT 2003 Water and Food, Cullity Gallery, University of Western Australia COLLECTIONS National Gallery of Victoria The Art Gallery NSW The Art Gallery of WA National Gallery of Australia Utrect Aboriginal Art Museum The Lepley Collection, Perth Kerry Stokes Collection Holmes a Court Collection, Perth Geraldton Refional Art Gallery Murdoch University Art Collection Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art Peter and Agnes Cooke Collection Bertrand Estrangin Collection


SONIA KURARRA Martuwarra - River 27 May – 19 June 2021

Aboriginal & Pacific Art, Sydney in association with Mangkaja Arts, Fitzroy Crossing, WA

All images and text copyright the Artist and Mangkaja Arts, Fitzroy Crossing, WA. Courtesy of the artist and Mangkaja Arts, Fitzroy Crossing, WA

Aboriginal & Pacific Art, 1/24 Wellington Street, Waterloo, NSW, 2017 Australia Ph: +61 2 9699 2211 E: info@aboriginalpacificart.com.au W: www.aboriginalpacificart.com.au

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Sonia Kurarra | Martuwarra - River  

Aboriginal & Pacific Art, Sydney in association with Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Fitzroy Crossing, WA presents Sonia Kurarra | Martuwarra...

Sonia Kurarra | Martuwarra - River  

Aboriginal & Pacific Art, Sydney in association with Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Fitzroy Crossing, WA presents Sonia Kurarra | Martuwarra...

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