The Artists Perspective on Aboriginal Art continued
TOMMY CARROLL – this is difficult. Why does Tommy paint? Because he CAN…..not from a “painting family” like his wife, Katie Cox – Tommy has raw, natural talent. He’s good, he knows it! Jack taught him how to mix ochre – that’s all. Tommy paints the country he worked as a stockman – in his own style. We notice, his, invariably “sell-out”, Exhibitions” are often titled “The Dark and Brooding Works of Tommy Carroll”. Yes, he does paint black and white minimal works – but we see he also changes to the red/yellow/black “bright” works of the Aboriginal Flag when he paints for us in-house (note- his paintings of Doon Doon Station in Dry Time – hardly dark nor brooding).
His “Emu Rock – Lansdowne” depicts exactly what we have seen – Try it – we have – drive (correction – “roll over the rocks”) at Lansdowne Station – first settled by Rod and Edna Quilty – up the hill and look back – there to see are the three rocky outcrops – the Dreaming Story of three emus (Father, Mother, Baby) – once again, this tall, lean stockman paints HIS COUNTRY – we are starting to understand what Aboriginal Art is all about. The bonding of Aboriginal people with their land.
TOMMY CARROLL’S VISION:
LET ME PAINT MY LAND THE WAY I WANT TO PAINT IT – BELIEVE IN ME, MY TRADITIONAL HERITAGE – AND MY ABILITY.
LILY KARADADA – a beautiful woman – in every sense of the word – tall, high cheek bones, striking at the age of 80 plus – with the softest, warmest eyes you have ever seen. Diva of a huge extended family in Kalumburu – Lil is always THERE for her family – she explained to us, “I had eight children, lost three…now I must look after the grandchildren and Jackie”.
Her husband, Jack Karadada, is very dependent physically upon her – however, she still manages to keep up the standard of the best known Wandjina painter in the World. She carries a walking stick – hardly uses it – asked why she has it? – “My knee is sore”. We are sure it is – but she puts up with the pain. Laugh? She “giggles” – said on one visit to Kununurra “Jackie will hit me with this stick and say – Where you bin Lily?”.
We notice when she paints “in house” – she shuts off from the world – she handles a paintboard so beautifully – so professionally – it’s her only “time out” – Lil is a specialist Wandjina painter – but when her daughter Angie told us she was the first woman to paint Bradshaw, Lil laughed and said “I remember how – my father showed me when I was little one” – and she painted Bradshaw for us, as she remembered it from Prince Regent River area – she may have been young when she lost her father – but she speaks of him often – “He called me Mindindil – Bubbles”.
I CAN NEVER REMEMBER THE TIME I DID NOT PAINT –
(We translate this as “I love painting – I need to paint for my family – and for ME”)