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Queenie McKenzie Nakara

1930 – 1998

Aboriginal artist, Queenie McKenzie had a relatively short artistic career as she did not begin to paint until the late 1980’s after encouragement from her friend, Rover Thomas, one of Australia’s most well known Aboriginal artists. Queenie was born at Old Texas Downs on the Ord River to a Malngin/Gurindji Aboriginal mother and white horsebreaker father. She worked as a cook on cattle stations for almost 40 years until 1973 when she settled in Turkey Creek (Warmun). She was a strong member of the Warmun community; a Councillor and teacher of the Gija language and also played a significant role in the reclaiming of traditional land in the region. She was heavily committed to ceremonial life. Her painting followed Rover Thomas’ style, mapping country in natural ochers, blending landscape with witnessed or remembered events, family anecdotes and mythological information. Her landscapes are very distinctive, particularlry her rendition of the Kimberleys. She used dots to delineate her simple forms, not as a form of intuitive primitivism, but as a link to the traditional work of the Turkey Creek movement. She became an active printmaker after producing her first prints in 1995 in collaboration with printmaker Theo Tremblay. Her work has been widely exhibited since 1991. It was included in the exhibitions ‘Power of the Land, Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art’ at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1992, and she also had a solo exhibition in Melbourne in 1997.

Updated 2018
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