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Alan Griffiths / Bali Bali Balga (1B)
76cm x 56cm Ochre on PaperView more from artist
76cm x 56cm Ochre on Paper
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Ochre / Kimberley artworks are shipped on canvas or linen, already stretched, ready to hang unless stated otherwise.
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1933 – 2018
Alan was born at Victoria River Downs Station, NT in 1933 and passed away peacefully in Kununurra surrounded by his family in 2018. Alan worked as a stockman on many stations in the region including Newry, Ivanhoe, The “Elsey”, Maninbelli, Elizabeth Downs, Delamere, Willaroo and as head stockman on Beswick. When the town of Kununurra emerged in 1965, Alan became a machine operator for the Government. His language was Ngarinyman / Ngaliwurru.
Alan was an acclaimed senior artist and one of the leading Elders in the East Kimberley (as is his wife Peggy). He started painting in the early 1980’s and his immense talent is recognised Australia-wide and Internationally.
Alan was fortunate in that he was one of a few selected artists whose attributes were outstanding enough to gain recognition early in the Aboriginal Art movement – along with his wife Peggy he exhibited with and participated in printmaking programmes alongside some of the most successful ochre artists in the East Kimberley region – Jack Britten, Queenie McKenzie and Rover Thomas. His fastidious approach to his work gained him an enviable reputation, commanding high prices for his paintings.
Alan’s limited edition prints of his own corroboree “Bali Bali Balga Joonba” were instantly successful, being collected by Parliament House. He and Peggy were invited to present this corroboree at the ATSIC Art Awards Perth, with dancing headboards woven by Peggy. This now famous corroboree is danced in Kununurra annually and Alan continued travelling with Peggy for cultural events, including ceremony and law for the youngsters up until his passing.
Alan’s style was distinctive, elegant and precise and with every painting, he shared the story depicting his culture, his knowledge of the country and his diverse experience of life which he spent years passing down to the indigenous youth in his extended family.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
• “Alan Griffiths”, CDU Gallery, Charles Darwin University, Darwin
• “Traditional Stories”, Span Galleries, Melbourne
• “Camel Trek Country”,Span Galleries, Melbourne
Selected Group Exhibitions
• “Our Living Land”, An Exhibition of Leading Artists from the East Kimberley, Salvo Hotel, Shanghai, China
• “Ceremony”, Hurstville Museum & Gallery, Hurstville NSW
• “Raison d’être”, Galerie Karin Carton, Versailles, France
• Waltzing Matilda Outback Art Show, Outback Regional Gallery, Winton, Queensland
• Muswellbrook Art Prize, Muswellbrook Regional Art Centre
• “Sharing Difference on Common Ground”, The Cannery Arts Centre, Esperance
• Kimberley Ink and Ochre, Wollongong University
• Collectors Editions: Iconic Prints from the Kimberley, Northern Editions, Darwin
• Celebrate, Seva Frangos Art, Perth, WA
• Woolloongabba Art Gallery, Brisbane
• Indigenous Art, Australian Embassy, Paris, France
• Kimberley Focus, Concert Hall PIAF, Perth
• Newcastle Regional Gallery, Newcastle
• Waringarri Song and Dance Cycle, UWA, Perth
• Kimberley Art, Short Street Gallery, Broome
• Moon Show, Arthouse Gallery, Sydney
• Warrgebarenkoo, Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth
• Heyson Prize, Adelaide
• Groundwork, Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth
• All About Art, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
• New Wave Kimberley Art, Corowa House, Margaret River
• Kimberley Art Award, Kununurra
• Fremantle Print Award, Perth
• Art Equity Collection
• Art Gallery of Queensland
• Artbank Australia, Sydney
• Bachelor Institute of Advanced Education, Darwin
• Broadmeadows Health Service Collection, Melbourne
• Cable Beach Resort, Broome
• City of Perth Collection
• Edith Cowan University Collection, Perth
• Kluge Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection Virginia, USA
• Musee De Confluence, Lyons, France
• National Gallery of Australia Collection
• Parliament House Collection, Canberra
Story of the Artwork
This Joonba (corroboree) has been passed down and is currently owned by Alan, a renowned International Artist. It is a great honour to be the custodian of a corroboree. The Joonba has been performed many times under the direction of Alan and his wife Peggy – including the 1997 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award Competition, and Alan has depicted the ceremony many times in his painting career, with varied themes. Visitors to Kununurra have been entertained annually with a rendition of the Joonba in conjunction with festivities in the region in the dry time. An artwork of this theme was featured in 2007 at the prestigious Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection at the University of Virginia.
The depiction features dancers with clapsticks (singing sticks), boomerangs, woven headwear, youngsters in nagas – everyone having a wonderful time. It is a family corroboree. The painting is alive with Song and Dance and the movement throughout the scene is happiness personified.
IN THE ARTIST’S WORDS
I have painted the Bali Bali Balga Joonba (coroborree) as we used to dance it in our country, Newry Station just over the Northern Territory Border. Every Christmas time, sitdown time for the station people, the mob from Kununurra way would come to Newry and next year we would go to their country. This is a happy time to catch up with old friends and dance this happy family Joonba.
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