Sonia Kurarra grew up in the river country at Yungngora (Noonkanbah). She paints the sandy billabong country along the stretch of the Fitzroy River. Sonia relates her paintings to her birth country, Martuwarra (River Country), rather than her ancestral home of the Great Sandy Desert.
Region: Great Sandy Desert, WA
DOB: c 1952
Significant Country: Noonkanbah, WA
Sonia Kurarra, born circa 1952 on river country at Yungngora (Noonkanbah) where she grew up, began painting in the 1990’s on paper with Mangkaja Arts at Fitzroy Crossing. Since 2008 Sonia predominantly works on canvas.
Sonia paints the sandy billabong country along the stretch of the Fitzroy River, relating her paintings to her birth country, Martuwarra (River Country), rather than her ancestral home of the Great Sandy Desert. After the floodwaters recede, there are billabongs that hold a plentiful supply of parlka (barramundi), kurlumajarti (catfish) and bream. She paints gapi (fish), parrmarr (rocks) where the fish is cooked, ngurti (coolamon) and karli (boomerang).
She had her first solo show in Sydney in 2009 with Gallery Gondwana. In 2010 Sonia won the Western Australian Indigenous Artist Award at the Western Australian Indigenous Arts Award at the Art Gallery of WA. She went on to win the 2013 Headland Awards for best artist also, and her work is found in state gallery, corporate and private collections across the country.
Sonia’s works has a wonderful abstract approach on how she depicts her river country, applying iconography within her gestural landscapes. She applies with confidence thick application of paint, building upon multiple layers, that creates movement within the work, that is reminscent of the flow of the Fitzroy River after the rain. Her palette changing with each work, ranging from the monochromatic tones, subdued subtle colours, through to the richly textured bold coloured strokes.
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