A new name is hurtling out of The Kimberley into Sydney this weekend. Sonia Kurarra is a Walmajarri woman from Fitzroy Crossing who is going to knock a few socks off when her art is viewed at Gallery Gondwana in Danks Street from Saturday.
Mighty swirls of wild colour characterise her art “ which would have been better known in the past, says Mangkaja Arts Co-ordinator, Katie McGuire, if the artist hadn’t been inclined to ‘go walkabout’ all the time! I think she and I have bonded in the 12 months I’ve been here, and that’s reassured her that painting really is better than charging off all over the country. But, even in the studio she’s a real drama queen with no style and lots of heart. And she paints from the heart “ it’s all bottled up inside her and she just has to let it out.
Kurarra was born on a Kimberley cattle station 50/60 years ago, but lived on bush foods rather than Western tucker “ so fish, turtles and bush bananas were vital to her survival, and are, McGuire believes, etched into her psyche, coming out on her canvases. She’s a fabulous sculptor in paint, building layer upon layer “ with no idea of planning her art. It’s all expressionistic compulsion. And as well as the deep bush knowledge, I feel sure there’s been a tragedy in her past “ but she never talks about it.
Roslyn Premont of Gallery Gondwana confirms this view: Her work is a very atmospheric – rich and moody. I’m a great fan of Sonia’s magical landscapes, all experienced first hand. This is her first solo show, and I’m really proud to bring her fresh pioneering spirit to Sydney.