Mavis Ngallametta: Show Me the Way to Go Home is the first extensive survey of the artist’s work, exploring a decade of the prominent Indigenous weaver-turned-painter’s life. The exhibition features more than 40 joyous, story-laden paintings and sculptures, inspired by her home and country in and surrounding Aurukun in Far-North Queensland, charting her profound contribution to arts and culture nationally. Curated by Bruce Johnson McLean, Show Me the Way to Go Home traverses a decade of Mavis’ creativity, from 2008 when she took up painting at the age of 64, through to works created just before her passing in 2019.
Mavis’ paintings are all about place – she was an elder of the Putch clan and a cultural leader of the Wik and Kugu people of Aurukun, her home and country, which was a key inspiration for her work. Through her paintings she told the stories of her life and memories, and those of the people she loved, with landscapes depicting not only the country of which she was the traditional owner, but also places inspired by personal, familial or cultural connections. Show Me the Way to Go Home includes expansive large-scale canvases depicting breathtaking landscapes from the region surrounding Aurukun, including the contrasting red-dirt cliffs and sacred white clay of Ikalath, to the country around the Kendall River and Yalgamunken, a local site for collecting yellow ochre. The exhibition also explores Mavis’ creative period prior to painting as a renowned weaver, featuring weaving and fibre-art examples, as well as small-scale works from her earliest foray into acrylic painting.
As part of QAG’s COVIDSafe Plan and to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing for visitors, staff and volunteers, the gallery is open to a limited number of visitors from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily, using a timed-entry ticket system. The gallery has also increased its frequency of cleaning, provides hand-washing and sanitiser facilities, and has installed distance markers for queuing. To book your free timed-ticket to QAG to see Mavis Ngallametta: Show Me the Way to Go Home, head on over to the QAGOMA website.
Image one: Installation view of Mavis Ngallametta: Show Me the Way to Go Home, QAG, 2020.
Image two: Mavis Ngallametta painting Ikalath #9 2013, from the Janet Holmes à Court Collection, in Cairns, 2013 / Artwork © Estate of Mavis Ngallametta / Photograph © Gina Allain.
Image three: Mavis NGALLAMETTA Kugu-Muminh people, Putch clan Australia QLD 1944-2019. Dragging Net at Less Creek (detail) 2015 / 270 x 200 cm. Natural ochres and charcoal with acrylic binder on linen.Collection: Johnny Kahlbetzer, Sydney. ©The estate of Mavis Ngallametta. Photograph: Jenni Carter.
Image four: Mavis NGALLAMETTA Kugu-Muminh people, Putch clan Australia QLD 1944-2019. Yalgamulchen #2 2012. Natural earth pigments and charcoal with synthetic binder on canvas / 200 x 300cm. Purchased 2012. Collection: National Gallery of Australia. ©The estate of Mavis Ngallametta. Image courtesy: National Gallery of Australia.
Image five: Installation view of Mavis Ngallametta: Show Me the Way to Go Home, QAG, 2020.