I am SO thrilled to announce our upcoming TDF Collect show with Pilbara-based artist Maggie Green, I Been Born There. It’s an exhibition of many firsts. Not only is it our first art exhibition of 2020, but it’s also Maggie’s debut solo show, and our first solo exhibition with an Indigenous artist. And we could not be more excited to share her work with you all!
Maggie Green is a Mangala woman based in Pilbara, a remote region in the North of Western Australia, represented by Spinifex Hill Studio. Maggie’s artwork tells the stories of her childhood at Myroodah Station, a sheep and cattle station in the West Kimberley Region. ‘[I was] born on station, Myroodah Station, Derby side. My mother and father, granddad, grandmother, uncles, aunties, we all been grew up there. I been going to school there,’ she reflects.
It’s also where Maggie first started painting, learning her distinctive dot painting style from her mother and grandmother. ‘We start doing painting on Myroodah Station’, Maggie explains. ‘My mum and my grandmother teaching us doing painting for us. That’s how we were learning dot paint.’ Maggie’s mother is often referred to in the stories associated with her artwork, as is Myroondah Station’s then-manager Mick, and teacher Mary. She also fondly remembers the friends she grew up with on the station, with whom she would ‘run amok’.
Created from densely-layered fields of coloured dot work, Maggie’s canvases are semi-abstract renderings of landscape. The works translate the memories of her childhood into geometric compositions of glowing pastel colour.
Maggie spends extraordinary amounts of time on one work, painting in two layers of gridded dots. She begins by sketching out the same thing on every canvas, two lines drawn down the center in chalk representing the road at Myroodah Station where she grew up. She then draws two squares on either side of the road; the school and the toilet block. But as you can see, she never sticks to these chalk lines and paints over them entirely in seemingly random shapes. But underneath every painting is the same design. The road and two buildings where she grew up.
‘That’s the road,’ Maggie explains, directing her finger to the centre of the canvas. ‘This is the house,’ she says, pointing to a section of the painting adjacent to the road, mapping out the area she once called home.
Huge thanks must go to the manager of Spinifex Hill Studio, Maddie Sharrock, for introducing us to Maggie’s spectacular work, and helping us every step of the way in bringing this show to life. Spinifex Hill Studio is a relatively new Urban Aboriginal Art Centre in Port Hedland, Western Australia, who represent around 40 core artists and facilitate another 200 or so who use the space. These guys are doing some seriously amazing work!
Maddie and Maggie will be joining us for the opening of I Been Born There on Saturday, March 21st. It’s a big deal for Maggie to travel all that way. ‘I never seen Melbourne before. This the first time. I don’t know that place’, she says. The show will be opened by a Welcome to Country from a Wurundjeri elder at 2pm, with refreshments until 5pm.
We hope you love Maggie’s work as much as we do!