"I am Nyikina. Solely Nyikina. I’m from Jarlmadangah. I was born at Jarlmadangah. That’s Nyikina. Not Mangala. I know that. As I was growing up, I learned that." - DAISY LOONGKOONAN
At 105 years of age, Loongkoonan is one of Australia’s oldest living contemporary artists. The paintings in Yimardoowarra: Artist of the River are intricate depictions of her homeland in remote Western Australia. She is an important matriarch of the Nyikina people and one of the last speakers of their critically endangered language. Her paintings are important chronicles of the unique Aboriginal Australian understanding of place. This exhibition charts the extraordinarily dense late-life career of an Indigenous woman who has brought a century of memory, tradition, and spirituality to her art practice.
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About the Artist
Daisy Loongkoonan is a Nyikina woman who began painting at age 95 at Manambarra Aboriginal Artists, an arts workshop in Derby. Her shimmering depictions of bush foods and land around the Fitzroy River received immediate acclaim, being exhibited in every state and territory of Australia. In 2006 Loongkoonan was awarded first prize in the Redlands Art Award, and in 2007 she received the Indigenous Award at the Drawing Together Art Awards at the National Archives of Australia. Her works have inspired a new generation of Nyikina artists, and are held in the collections of Australian Parliament House, Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Berndt Museum of Anthropology at the University of Western Australia, Macquarie University and the Department of Indigenous Affairs in Canberra.