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Kitten Malarvie / Sturt Creek Sunrise

60cm x 60cm Ochre on Canvas, 2009

SKU: 12176


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SKU: 12176 Category:

Kitten (also known as Kitty) was born at Halls Creek c. 1942, on the site of the old gold mine.  She recalls seeing the alluvial gold glinting as the sun rose in the morning time.  “There was a big mob of people all digging with crowbars. My father worked there – he was from Gordon Downs Station.  Before we were at Halls Creek, my father was a stockman at Nicholson and lots of other stations in the area. He taught all those young boys like Jock Mosquito how to ride and handle horses.  One time he drove Camel Trains for a while – he said it took three weeks for a really short trip from Lake Gregory way to Balgo with those camels”.

Her Grandmother’s country was Sturt Creek/Gordon Downs area and Kitten (really Kathleen and sometimes Kitty she says and laughs) paints this country as well as Halls Creek area.  She and her three brothers moved to Ord River Station and it was there that Kitten commenced her working life. She was a camp cook, worked around the homestead until she returned to Halls Creek.

She has one daughter and has raised a daughter for Peggy Patrick (Vanessa Gordon).  Kitty has lived in Kununurra for 30 years – she can relate stories in details of the development of the town.  She has always worked, caring for white children for the people who first started the businesses in Kununurra.  She is proud to say that, although she remembers the first “pub” in Kununurra being a little shed, she has never been a drinker.

Kitty’s works include dot-art, sketching, wonderful paintings of the Halls Creek Crater – a very talented lady. Her father taught her to paint when she was very small – he would carve coolamons and other wooden artefacts and Kitty would paint them up for him.

The artist has painted her family’s desert country around Sturt Creek, depicting the tracks along which the women would travel to the soakages (desert waterholes) for Women’s Ceremony and Law. The young girls were taught how to become women and take their place in the tribe, whilst the Elder women would discuss the Law for their tribe. These ceremonies normally took place in June/July and the colours of Kitty’s homelands at this time of the year are reflected in the artwork. She has painted the landscape at sunrise, with the soft pink of the first rays of the sun evident, heralding the clear, dry heat to come in the middle of the day. Still plenty of waterholes (with minimal water) and the land already devoid of any sign of grass, with the Wet Season well and truly over. The dotted roundels are representative of secret Women’s sites during the travels.

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