Kitty Simon Napanangka, Emily Kngwarreye and many more

In conjunction with International Women’s Day and Art Month 2021, Cooee Art presents its annual female Artists exhibition, We Choose to Challenge. Curated by Paddington gallery manager Hayley Cotton, works have been selected from communities across Australia in order to provide an insight into the life, concerns, and responsibilities of Indigenous women. The exhibition includes paintings by individual artists as well as collaborative pieces that emphasise the connections between groups of women belonging to the same land, community, and culture. The exhibition not only explores this interconnectedness, but also posits all of these female artists firmly into the #choosetochallenge conversation presented by International Women’s Day 2021.

During 2021, Cooee Art will be celebrating its 40th year working with Australian Indigenous artists. In doing so, we pay tribute to those tribal elders, past and present, who have carried their culture and nurtured mark making in their communities.

In the 1990s, Aboriginal women emerged to become a dominant force in Australian art and carried the movement toward international acclaim. This parallels the long suppressed, growing strength and influence of women in contemporary discourse, politics, and arts on the global stage. In this reforming period of our history, we have come to expect a more equitable gender balance, from the home to the halls of power.

A common thread in this show is the colour pink, separated and expanded from its proto-feminine connotations. The ochres of the Kimberly lift the red beating heart of the country from the desert sand. In Utopia, the seasonal shift in the flowers’ bloom announces the end of drought and represents a celebration of food and ceremony. From the sweet candy pinks in the spring’s early bloom and the deeply rich violets of the flowers’ full ripeness, to the subtle shifts and traces in the sand, there are highly nuanced shifts in tones and what they represent. In some paintings, there may only be a single pink mark; in others, the canvas is saturated with intense pinks and reds.

Included in this exciting show, are works from the Warlpiri community in Lajamanu, NT, tropical far north Queensland, Utopia in the Eastern Desert, the APY Lands (Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands) in South Australia, and the Kimberley in Western Australia.

We Choose to Challenge will be the last of many memorable events that have been held at Cooee Art’s Paddington gallery over the past five years. On the 25th of March, we are excited to announce, Cooee Art will open its vast new 480 m2 premises in Thurlow Street, East Redfern.

The event will be at our Paddington Gallery

326 Oxford Street
Paddington NSW 2021

326 Oxford Street, Paddington NSW 2021
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