‘Lightening Dreaming’ at Butler Goode Gallery

A body of work from Aboriginal artist Sarrita King combines traditional dotting with her own techniques to create beautifully evocative artworks

28 Aug 2012

Sarrita King was born in Adelaide, South Australia on the 5th March 1988.  She is the younger sister to fellow artist, Tarisse King and daughter to the late highly regarded artist, William King Jungala (1966 – 2007). 

Sarrita inherits her Australian Aboriginality from her father who was part of the Gurindji tribe from the Northern Territory.  The Gurindji tribe came to public attention during the 1960s and 1970s when members employed by the Wave Hill cattle station led a landmark case which became the first successful land rights claim in Australia.  It is this same strong sense of self and pride that Sarrita embodies and it fuels her drive to paint her totemic landscape.

Sarrita spent most of her youth growing up in Darwin in the Northern Territory.  Not far from where her ancestors inhabited, it is here that her connection to her Aboriginality and subsequently the land was able to grow.  Her exposure to the imperious weather and extreme landscape has provided the theme for her works of art, since she began painting at age 16.  Rolling sand hills, cracking lightning and thunderstorms, torrential rain, fire, desert and tangled bush are all scathing environmental factors that shaped her forefather’s lives and also her own. Depicting these elements in her paintings, Sarrita provides a visual articulation of the earth’s language.

Stylistically, Sarrita utilises traditional Aboriginal techniques such as ‘dotting’ but also incorporates unorthodox techniques inherited from her late father, as well as self-developed practices.  Her art is a fusion of the past, present and future and represents the next generation of artists who have been influenced by both their indigenous history, and current Western upbringing.  Sarrita creates frenetic energy on the canvas with her Lightning series and searing heat with her Fire series.  Her aesthetic has a universal appeal and provides an entry point for people to experience the power and uniqueness of the Australian landscape and its harsh climate. On a world scale, her depictions couldn’t be more seasonable and well-timed.

Sarrita now lives and paints in Canberra.  She has been included in over 20 exhibitions, is represented in galleries in every Australian state, included in many high profile Australian and international art collections and been auctioned several times successfully through Paris’ Art Curial Auction house. 

Sarrita is currently taking a hiatus from her Bachelor of Journalism at the University of South Australia to pursue her interest in digital media, specifically documentary making and focus on her art. At only 23, Sarrita King has many personal achievements but it is her desire to visually communicate her inspiration and the land, which keeps her ancestral narrative alive and provides a new way of looking back while looking forward.

Lightening Dreaming will open at Butler Goode Gallery, Paddington, on Thursday 30 August.

Butler Goode Gallery 

Sarrita King