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Focus on colourful Kimberley works and film screening at Whistlewood

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An exhibition of Aboriginal art featuring works from the pioneering Kimberley colourist painters of Mangkaja Arts in Fitzroy Crossing, plus an outdoor film screening and in conversation with artists and the film director will launch Whistlewood’s new exhibition on the evening of February 18.

“It will be a very special night that celebrates the making of the epic film ‘Putuparri and the Rainmakers’ by film director Nicole Ma and the work by artists of the art centre responsible for its making,” says Whistlewood’s co-director Susan McCulloch.

‘Putuparri and the Rainmakers’ is an award-winning documentary that spans 20 transformative years in the young Kimberley man Tom ‘Putuparri’ Lawford’s life as he re-engages with his grandfather who is a ceremonial ‘rainmaker’. Lawford and his grandfather go on a series of epic journeys to their family’s stunning and remote Great Sandy Desert country as he navigates the deep chasm between his largely Western upbringing and his traditional culture. Set against the backdrop of the long fight to reclaim their traditional lands, ‘Putuparri and the Rainmakers’ has been hailed as a story of love, hope and the survival of Aboriginal law and culture against all odds.

“It’s an amazing and deeply moving film and one that filmmaker Nicole Ma spent 10 years making – including many, often grueling, trips across remote desert lands,” says McCulloch. “We’re thrilled that Nicole, along with some of the artists from the Kimberley, will join us to discuss the film and art after the screening.”

Featured amongst the many Aboriginal artworks on show are the those by artists from the Fitzroy Crossing-based Aboriginal art centre Mangkaja Arts, including award winners the late Dolly Snell and Sonia Kurarra, paintings and prints by other senior and emerging artists as well as some luminous new works painted on Perspex.

“Aboriginal art in the Kimberley is best known for the striking works from the East Kimberley in brown, black and white ochre and the Wandjina figures from the north,” says McCulloch. “However, since their art centre started more than 25 years ago, the artists of Mangkaja Arts in Fitzroy Crossing have always worked in brilliant colours. Since, their work has developed a soft luminescence that makes it quite distinctive.

*Exhibition opening, film screening and in conversation: Saturday, February 18, 6-9.30pm. Tickets: $35.

Exhibition open: Fridays-Mondays weekly 11am-4pm (no charge)

A: 642 Tucks Rd, Shoreham
T: 5989 8282

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