Veronica Lulu and Kim Mahood • Sand Dunes and Fire Scars, Great Sandy Desert 2019

····· artist statement


Veronica Lulu and I grew up on neighbouring cattle stations in the Tanami Desert in the 1960s, prior to Native Title. The station established by my family had Native Title recognised over it and was purchased for the Traditional Owners in the 1990s. The stations of Billiluna and Lake Gregory, traditional country for Lulu, were likewise purchased for the Traditional Owners, and Native Title was recognised in 2001. The painting collaborations between Lulu and I are an expression of a shared attachment to country that transcends racial divisions and pays homage to cross-cultural friendship.

····· Jo Lankester


····· artist's bios

····· (Kanpirr) Veronica Lulu was born in 1952 at Nyarna (Lake Stretch) on Billiluna Station in the south-east Kimberley. She lives on Mulan Aboriginal community, south of Billiluna, near Paruku (Lake Gregory), and paints for Warlayirti, the Balgo-based art centre, and Warruyanta, a small artist-managed centre in Mulan. Lulu began to emerge as one of Balgo’s leading painters in the 1990s. She was included in the Balgo Survey Show, Singapore, in 2010, and has been represented several times in Desert Mob, (Araluen Art and Culture Centre, Alice Springs), the Telstra Awards, and the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair. Her work is held in significant collections, including the Canning Stock Route Art Project (National Museum of Australia), and the Desert Lake exhibition, purchased by the Center for Art and Environment, Nevada Museum of Art, Nevada USA. This collection contains the first major collaborative work she painted with Kim Mahood. Mahood and Lulu have worked together since 2004, initially on an extended cultural mapping project about Paruku, and as artists sharing a canvas since 2009. Lulu’s painting centres around traditional bush foods, in particular the samphire Tecticornia verrucosa, called mungily in Walmajarri, which grows on the saline claypans in the floodout system of Paruku. She continues to paint every day, and has passed on her skills to her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Mahood and Lulu paint together whenever they have the opportunity, focusing on the waterways and fire scars of Lulu’s traditional country around Paruku. Their most recent collaboration, ‘Tanami Fire Scar’, was included in the exhibition ‘Black White and Restive’ at the Wollongong Art Gallery in 2016.

····· Kim Mahood is an artist and writer with a longstanding interest in visual arts and Indigenous Culture. Mahood has been published widely in journals such as the Griffith Review, The Monthly, Meanjin, Journal of Aboriginal History, Eureka Street and Quarterly Essay. Mahood also has two published works of literary non-fiction (Position Doubtful and Craft for a Dry Lake), and notable contributions in many magazines, exhibition publications and edited books. She was the chief architect of the Off-Centre symposium through Umbrella Studio in 1990. Mahood has been exhibiting for over two decades in both solo and collaborative projects, and more recently with Walmajarri artist Veronica Lulu. The pair exhibited work in the groundbreaking conference and exhibition Black, White and Restive at Newcastle Art Gallery. Mahood’s career has been celebrated with a number of awards and fellowships, including the HC Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship (2014), the Peter Blazey Fellowship (2013), the Rosemary Dobson Poetry Prize (2006) and the Centenary Medal for Services to Literature (2000).

Veronica Lulu and Kim Mahood Sand Dunes and Fire Scars, Great Sandy Desert (detail) 2019 Acrylic on canvas 80 x 155cm

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