The exhibition Connected to the Land pays tribute to three senior women artists; Betty Bundamurra and the late Mary Punchi Clement and Mary Teresa Taylor, presenting work selected by their colleague, curator and artist Angelina Karadada Boona. The works originate from a small tin shed; an art centre they call Kira Kiro Artists in Kalumburu, an isolated settlement in north-east Kimberley.
Their art is sustained by the rock art tradition; the Drysdale River catchment has one of the earliest and securely dated sites for Aboriginal occupation at 50,000 years ago. Highlighted in the paintings are Wandjina and older Kira Kiro (in Ngarinyin, Wunumba; and Worrora languages Gwion Gwion) figures and secular (but related) themes of totemic animals, sea-life and seasonal flora notably bush foods such as yam, spirits of honey and bush fruit and medicinal plants. Nothing is superfluous.
The artists’ styles are distinctive: Betty Bundamurra paints bold Kira Kiro dancers or hunters each with a unique personality; Mary Punchi Clement is a colourist whose richly hued palette and layered or patterned brush marks show elegant travelling Kira Kiro, their feet never touching the ground or delight in the patterns of the land.