Lily Karedada, Wandjina (Rain spirit), 2004, natural ochres and acrylic on linen, 100 x 200cm
After all this time...
When the opportunity arose in our calendar to show the work of Lily Karedada, and I pulled the paintings out from storage to select the works for the exhibition, I was thrilled that each painting still resonated with the power and strength I had remembered from years ago. I was moved by their potency, so much so that I felt compelled to write this short introduction to the catalogue to record the experience.
Our first solo exhibition of Lily Karedada's work was held 2000. Ten years later, we are privileged to have Lily's permission to show her work again. Although it is believed that this distinguished artist is almost 90 years old (and some think even older), she is still painting, and now works with Waringarri Aboriginal Arts. This exhibition is not new work however, but pieces we acquired over a number of years up until 2004.
The Karedada family is famous for their depiction of the Wandjina, and Lily is regarded as one of the foremost painters of this iconic motif. There are many erudite texts written on the mythologies surrounding the Wandjina and their significance to the people of the Kimberley, and I highly recommend that you read them, particularly Judith Ryan's excellent Images of Power that documents the seminal exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1993.
I agree that an understanding of the origins of the imagery adds to one's appreciation of the work, however, I also maintain that these paintings, like all works of art, can also be looked at for their pure and raw aesthetic beauty. Rather than concentrate solely on art historical aspects I encourage you to experience the potency of each painting as the artist has chosen to depict it, with colour, brush-stroke and form.
This, in my opinion, is contemporary figurative painting at it's most powerful. The life-force of each figure, the playful interaction between the elements in some and the pure simplicity of the composition in others - this is the work of a gifted and inspired artist. The natural earth colours are rich and intense. There is a connectedness with the land that hits the viewer with an unexpected vigour. I hope that, like me, you also experience the joyful force of this exhibition.
Director, Niagara Galleries
A fully illustrated catalogue is now available for $11.00 plus postage and handling. The exhibition is also available for viewing on the website.
Please contact the gallery to obtain a complete list of works or to arrange for a preview prior to the opening.