Yimardoowarra: Artist of the River The Art of Loongkoonan

From Saturday 06 August 2022 -  10:00am
To Sunday 30 October 2022 - 04:00pm

Saturday 06 August 2022   10:00am

The Gallery is open daily from 10am to 4pm and entry is always free



At 105 years of age, Loongkoonan (Born c.1910. Nyikina/Australian) was one of Australia’s oldest contemporary artists. The paintings in Yimardoowarra: Artist of the River are intricate depictions of her homeland in remote Western Australia. She was an important matriarch of the Nyikina people and one of the last speakers of their critically endangered language. Her paintings remain as important chronicles of the unique Aboriginal Australian understanding of place. This exhibition charts the extraordinarily dense late-life career of an Indigenous woman who has brought a century of memory, tradition, and spirituality to her art practice.

Brag will be the first Australian institution to host the exhibition, which was curated by Diane Mossenson in conjunction with Dr Henry Skerritt from the Kluge Ruhe Art Museum.

The works have been exhibited to high acclaim at the Australian Embassy in Washington and the Kluge Ruhe.

Mossenson Art Foundation, Diane Mossenson and Henry Skerritt are currently collaborating on a significant publication reflecting on this remarkable lady’s art career.

BRAG thanks Dr Diane Mossenson from Mossenson Gallery for the loan of these works.



The artist Loongkoonan was born around 1910. She entered the world as the pastoral industry was reaching its peak in Northern Australia. It was a world she got to know well, working as a cook and station hand at Mount Anderson Station. But this was also a world in which Aboriginal traditions remained strong: the annual wet season saw station work cease, leaving Aboriginal workers free to return to their ancestral estates to attend to ceremonial obligations. Loongkoonan walked the length and breadth of her country, absorbing its poetry, learning its lessons, fulfilling her responsibilities as Yimardoowarra. A women of considerable seniority, in years as well as community status, she was one of the key custodians of Nyikina language and culture. Only beginning painting at the age of 94, she was also one of only a handful of Nyikina people to forge a successful career in the contemporary art world. Loongkoonan passed away in 2018 at around the age of 105.

 Image: Loongkoonan, Fitzroy River (Madoowara), 2006,(detail). Photographed by Bo Wong.



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