The paintings of Lucy Ward and Loongkoonan speak the history of the Kimberley. It is a history that these women have lived and learnt from a lifelong engagement with the country of their ancestors.
Indigenart, The Mossenson Galleries is proud to present an important new exhibition from these innovative and remarkable senior women.
Ngarranggarni Mananambarra will be opened at 6pm on Wednesday 22 March 2006 by Maria Myers, Director of Doongan and Theda Stations, North Kimberley. Indigenart is honoured to announce that Lucy Ward and Loongkoonan will be travelling to Melbourne for the opening.
Lucy Ward and Loongkoonan know the meaning of hard work. As young women, they worked on the stock stations of the Kimberley, cooking, riding horses and mustering sheep and cattle.
Like many Indigenous pastoral workers, they looked forward to the arrival of the Wet Season when they would footwalk their clan estates with the Mananambarra (or Elders), collecting bush tucker, medicine and the prized Spinifex wax. It is with great fondness that Lucy recalls watching her father and grandfather paint the Wandjina spirits on the cave walls, and it is with immense reverence that she continues this tradition on canvas.
Walking their country with the Mananambarra, Lucy and Loongkoonan learnt the traditional ways of their people, along with the ceremonies and stories of the Ngarranggarni or Dreaming. Now Mananambarra in their own right, in the past three years, Lucy and Loongkoonan have begun recording their experiences as a record for future generations.
At an age when most people would be looking for a quiet retirement, Lucy (born circa 1920) and Loongkoonan (born circa 1910) have thrown themselves into painting with an uninhibited outpouring of inspiration and joy.
The paintings of Lucy Ward and Loongkoonan exhibit and inimitable exuberance that offers the viewer a privileged insight into their profound understanding of the country of their ancestors.
Both Loongkoonan and Lucy Ward have been chosen as finalists in the 200 Alice Art Prize.