Ngalim-Ngalimbooroo Ngagenybe (From my women)
The National Portrait Gallery is currently open to the public with social distancing and hygiene measures in place. Twenty people are allowed in the gallery at one time, booking is essential. The exhibition Ngalim-Ngalimbooroo Ngagenybe (From my women) can also be viewed online here.
In Ngalim-Ngalimbooroo Ngagenybe (From my women), Shirley Purdie pays homage to the women in her family, representing herself through collective knowledge, culture and values. Acquired by the Portrait Gallery in September 2019, this non-representational self portrait is informed by Aboriginal ways of seeing and understanding the world. Each panel contains a story, producing a portrait that is a complex kaleidoscope of personal history, identity and connection to country.
Purdie has lived on Gija Country in Western Australia’s East Kimberley all her life. Her cultural knowledge and artistic skill complement each other to produce a practice that holds great strength. She is a prominent leader in Warmun Community and an incisive cross-cultural communicator. Inspired by more senior Warmun artists, including her late mother, the great Madigan Thomas, as well as Rover Thomas and Queenie McKenzie, Purdie began to paint her Country in the early 1990s. Shirley’s uncle, artist Jack Britten, said to her, ‘Why don’t you try yourself for painting, you might be all right’. Working at the Warmun Art Centre, established in 1998, Purdie is dedicated to perpetuating Gija stories and language for young people.