Tolarno Galleries announces representation of Kieren Karritpul

Tolarno Galleries announces the representation of Kieren Karritpul (b. 1994), a Ngen'giwumirri artist who lives in the small community of Nauiyu (Daly River) south west of Darwin. He lives in a community of artists including his mother Patricia McTaggart Marrfurra AM, aunties and cousins.

A 2021 Ramsay Art Prize finalist, Karritpul won the inaugural Youth Award at the 2014 Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. In 2020 he won the National Indigenous Fashion Award for Textile Design, resulting in a collaboration with Country Road Homewares. The judges congratulated Kieren "on his ability to tell stories through his textiles and bring about a truly emotional experience". Additionally, they commended Kieren’s use of movement and truly breathtaking colours.

As a Ngen'giwumirri man, Karritpul is not permitted to weave, instead he paints magnified views of woven objects and fibres. Weaving Myself: the Landscape and the Land, currently on view at Art Gallery of South Australia as part of the Ramsay Art Prize 2021 exhibition, was painted using two brushes, one made with his own hair. He uses the weaving process as a visual metaphor for land and landscape. This painting is a magnified view of the woven surface that stands for the breathing lands of his Country. Karritpul feels he was born woven into the land. Using repetition and line he creates a surface that moves like human breath.

Born into a family of artists, he announced to his family at 5 years of age, as he sat with them drawing and painting, that he would also be an artist. When Karritpul paints and draws, it appears his arm, hand and the brush or pencil are all interconnected. It is both compelling and mesmerising to watch as he seamlessly moves the brush to paint his world.

Karritpul works across painting, printmaking, fabric design and ceramics. When making art, he disappears into his own imaginary world where he reimagines totems and dreamings. This is a world where he can reconnect with his ancestors. He works on the floor so the ancestors above can watch and guide his progress.

Karritpul's work is in several major collections including National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Museum of Applied Arts and Social Sciences, Sydney and Artbank. He is the youngest Director ever appointed to the Association of Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists (ANKAAA).

A young leader in his community, Karritpul is on the land hunting and fishing for bush tucker every day, carefully watching and listening to the breathing earth: the trees, the wind, the stars and the water holes. These daily excursions feed his soul and his artwork. He continues his promise to his mother and ancestors each day: to tell, reinterpret and visualise his landscape and culture to the world, through art.

Tolarno Galleries will present a Kieren Karritpul solo exhibition in 2022.

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