Opening Saturday 21 July at 2 pm
Exhibition 21 July to 1 September 2018
Presented by Warringarri Aboriginal Arts.
Two women, two generations and two disciplines combine in this exhibition to capture history, land, spirit and contemporary Mirriwoong culture of the East Kimberley in painting and ceramics.
Peggy Griffiths and Jan Griffiths from Kununurra in Western Australia, are mother and daughter.
Peggy Griffiths’ acclaimed paintings often depict the ethereal early morning light and the movement of wind and water — the breath of the land that she wakes up to each morning. Peggy Griffiths, who has exhibited for almost three decades, draws her subjects from the traditional Country of her mother and grandfather: Larrgen, the concave curves of Keep River gorge and Jalin (Beasley Knob), a looming and stark presence and sacred site commanding respect and veneration. Her carefully hand-mixed ochres (earth pigments) convey the translucent tones of light as it plays with her signature motif of jewel-like clusters of spinifex and grass. Many have noted the transfer of a dancer's fluidity into the outlines of Peggy Griffiths paintings: moving to express energies seen and unseen. In this way Griffiths imbues her images with the spirit and movement of her Mirriwoong country — as artist, song woman and dancer she keeps culture alive for the next generation.
Peggy Griffiths says, 'I know my culture is alive ... you see it in the wind as it moves across the country...' (interview with Warringarri Aboriginal Arts 2015.)
The artists’ ceramic works are the outcome of a series of experimental exchange residencies in 2017: in Adelaide with Gus Clutterbuck at the JamFactory Studio; at Midland Junction Art Centre Workshop with Bernard Kerr; in Perth at the Mundaring Art Centre. These outcome of these residencies were presented as the spectacular joint exhibition Yirrb/Together at JamFactory Adelaide for Tarnanthi 2017.
Jan Griffiths has learnt from her renowned parents, Peggy Griffiths and the late Mr Allan Griffiths artist founder members of Warringarri Aboriginal Arts in Kununurra, and conveys her parents' stories in a modern style. Jan Griffiths who was born in Kununurra and went to school in Broome, trained as a broadcaster and journalist she has been painting for several years. She is fascinated by the colonial history of droving and what it meant for unpaid Aboriginal pastoral workers such as her father, lawman, artist and choreographer Alan Griffiths.
The broad stylistic tradition known as East Kimberley divides spaces by colour and form and represents both the ground and the elusive skies, cloud forms and sometimes starry skies that often celebrate important dreaming sites and stories and mark the boundaries between Miriwoong and Gadjerrabeng people. Peggy Griffiths, who was born on Newry Station, learnt from her cultural leaders and experienced many of the tragedies affecting Kimberley people as a result of police and welfare hunts, although she escaped capture. Griffiths continues to reside at Newry Station which is now a National Park.
Peggy Griffiths is a founding artist of Waringarri Aboriginal Arts and has worked as an artist since 1985 as well as raising five children. She is a backbone of the Contemporary Aboriginal-run visual arts and culture network and has been a chairperson and representative of the art centre for nearly two decades and served as a board member of ANKA. She and her husband the late Alan Griffiths are respected throughout the Victoria River and Kimberley regions of Western Australia.
Jan Goongaja Griffiths, Fire Plate, 2018. Porcelain, sgraffito and underglaze decoration. 40 x 3cm.
Jan Goongaja Griffiths, Wind Plate, 2018. Porcelain, sgraffito and underglaze decoration. 40 x 3cm.
Peggy Griffiths, Larrgen Lamboong, 2018. Stoneware, sgraffito and underglaze decoration. 47 x 22 (w) x 8.5cm.
Peggy Madijarroong Griffiths, Keep River Bowl, 2018. Stoneware, sgraffito and underglaze decoration. 40cm dia x 17 cm.
Peggy Madijarroong Griffiths, Waterhole Platter, 2018. Porcelain, sgraffito and underglaze decoration, glaze. 42 x 3cm.
Peggy Madijarroong Griffiths, Jalin - Beasley Knob, 60x60 cm / Natural ochre and pigments on canvas. 5430-17
Peggy Madijarroong Griffiths, Larrgen - Daybreak, 130x125 cm / Natural pigment on canvas. 5510-17
Peggy Madijarroong Griffiths, Larrgen, 130x135 cm / Natural pigment on canvas. 5578-17
Peggy Madijarroong Griffiths, Jilinybeng - Bush Cucumber, 60x60 cm / Natural ochre and pigments on canvas. 5699-18
Jan Griffiths, Untitled, 60x60 cm / Natural pigment on canvas. 5791-18
Jan Griffiths, Untitled, 60x60 cm / Natural pigment on canvas. 5792-18
About Waringarri Aboriginal Arts
The Kimberley schools of contemporary art are internationally renowned especially for the use of ocher paintings, prints and now ceramics. Increasingly new media adds to the mix. Warringarri was established in the early 1980s by senior artists of the region and, like most community run art centres, is actively engaged in training the next generation of artists through workshops, residencies and community art projects.
About the Artists
Peggy Griffiths Biography > Download as pdf
Jan Griffiths Biography > Download as pdf
Jan Griffiths Poem > Download as pdf
Thank you & Dedication
Curators Peggy Griffiths, Jan Griffiths and Leanne Colleyer at Waringarri Aboriginal Arts.
This project is dedicated to the memory of Alan Griffiths: husband, father and eminent lawman, artist, choreographer and a founder of Warringarri Arts. Mr Griffiths' paintings and sculptural installations and performance express the natural and spirit world. His performance piece Bali Bali Balga (31 March 2017) was a highlight of The National (2017) at Carriageworks in Sydney. http://carriageworks.com.au/events/bali-bali-balga-alan-griffiths/
Links & Downloads
Waringarri Aboriginal Arts at www.waringarriarts.com.au
Documentary: “A working life from the station to the studio”, By Peggy Griffiths, Chris Griffiths and Beth Neate - http://www.abc.net.au/local/videos/2012/03/28/3465529.htm
Peggy Griffiths, Daybreak (Catalogue Essay) | ANKAAA & Waringarri Aboriginal Arts > Download as pdf
Peggy Griffiths feature: Our Living Land – An Exhibition of Leading Artists from the East Kimberley | Waringarri Aboriginal Arts > Download as pdf