Kununurra, Western Australia
Born 1945, Brockman (near Halls Creek), Western Australia.
Lives and works in Kununurra, Western Australia
Senior Waringarri artist, Kittey Malarvie’s traditional country is the desert landscape around Sturt Creek, south west of Kununurra and north of the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia. It is here in a remote environment that the artist learned her traditional culture.
Kittey’s paintings reveal layers of cultural meaning and connectedness; memories of a childhood, recollections of family histories and during more recent visits, communications with the rainbow serpent on a moonlit night from the water’s edge.
At the heart of Kittey’s current art practice is an enduring connection to her traditional country and childhood memories as a way of reconnecting with a time before the disruptions to family and cultural traditions that have increasingly occurred during her lifetime.
“When I paint I remember my childhood… when we were all together…”
The images interpret the transition of the seasons across a remarkable landscape of parched black soil plains and water the colour of milk as the artist meditates on her rich childhood growing up at Sturt Creek Station.
Initially Kittey created images that indicate layers of intersecting lines that map the mudflats along the river banks where ‘Luga’ - layers of dried and cracked clay pans provides hopscotch play for children as well as medicine in the salt enriched clays, she progressed to images of increasing fluidity as she began to paint the waters of Sturt Creek..
In her evolving ‘Milkwater’ series the artist depicts a meditation on the multifaceted play of wind and light on water. During still days the semi-translucent water shimmers and glistens with a unique beauty contrasting unmistakeably with paintings expressing the stormy crescendo of wind and waves stirring the darker river bed beneath.
Painting primarily in ochres of pinks, black, greys, milky whites and earth colours the artist translates the language of the place into the gestures and utterances of international abstraction. Her increasing meditation on movement, not only of wind and light but also of the energetic presence below the waters’ surface, reveal an artist fully immersed in the expression of intangible forces and which perhaps also allude to her own cultural powers as a healer. With each layer of paint application the artist adds to the complexity of her meditation and expands our understanding of east Kimberly painting and cultural traditions.
Zhongfu Group Collection, China
Kerry Stokes Collection
King Edward Memorial Hospital Collection