Prior to commencing painting, Mavis Ngallametta (1944–2019) was a renowned weaver. An elder of the Putch clan and a cultural leader of the Wik and Kugu people of Aurukun, Ngallametta was one of the most well-regarded senior community-based artists in Australia. She made a profound contribution to arts and culture nationally before her passing.
Over the course of her career Ngallametta created works that spoke to the most important places in her life and while she was the traditional owner of many of the places she painted, in other instances her landscapes were inspired by personal, familial or cultural connections.
All of her paintings are about place — the stories she knew, the memories she held and the people she loved. Each painting is about her home, and in her painting, she found a new home — somewhere she could go to remember, relive and record places, memories and loved ones.
Mavis Ngallametta ‘Mo’Yakal (White and yellow wattles in flower)’
Mavis Ngallametta ‘Pamp (Swamp)’
Acknowledgment of Country
The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land upon which the Gallery stands in Brisbane. We pay respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders past and present and, in the spirit of reconciliation, acknowledge the immense creative contribution Indigenous people make to the art and culture of this country.
It is customary in many Indigenous communities not to mention the name or reproduce photographs of the deceased. All such mentions and photographs are with permission, however, care and discretion should be exercised.
Featured image: Mavis Ngallametta painting Ikalath #9 2013, from the Janet Holmes à Court Collection, in Cairns, 2013 / © Estate of Mavis Ngallametta / Photograph © Gina Allain