Queenie McKENZIE - Banana Springs

Queenie McKENZIE - Banana Springs

1998, 46 x 65cm ADG:3537

ADG: 3537


Banana Springs, 1998

Limited edition screenprint

Edition number 59/99

Paper size 560mm x 760mm

Image size 460mm x 650mm

Banana Springs is an all year round spring located at the Old Texas Downs station, East of Warmun (Turkey Creek) WA. The artist remembered as a young girl travelling with drays and horses to Old Texas Downs and collecting bananas off the Manager, Jack Kelly, who grew a plantation along the spring. They would then load up the drays with bananas and take them to Wyndham, approximately 170 kilometres away. In those days the township of Kununurra didn't exist. The Dreamtime story associated with the spring tells about an old Aboriginal man and his wife living there at the spring. When they died they turned into rocks and created a waterfall. The print depicts the husband as the red rock on the left hand side and his wife is to the right. The bananas are growing at the bottom. The pink areas are the waterfall run off.


Queenie McKenzie (Nakarra) - Biography

c. 1930- 1998

Country East Kimberley

Community Warmun [Turkey Creek], WA

Language Gija (Gidja)

Medium Ochre (natural earth pigment) on canvas/linen with gum resin fixative

Subjects Texas Downs station, Purnululu (Bungle Bungle Ranges) country

Queenie McKenzie began painting in the late 1980s after encouragement from her friend, Rover Thomas, one of Australia's most preeminent Aboriginal artists.

Queenie was born c. 1930 on Old Texas Station, on the western bank of the Ord River in the East Kimberley. Her mother Old Dinah was a Malngin/Gurindji woman and her father was a non-Indigenous horse breaker. Queenie grew up among the Gija people and spoke Gija as her first language.

Queenie worked as a cook on cattle stations for almost 40 years until 1973 when she settled in Turkey Creek (Warmun). She was a strong member of the Warmun community; a Councillor and teacher of the Gija language and also played a significant role in the reclaiming of traditional land in the region. She was heavily committed to ceremonial life.

Queenie’s artworks depict her country in natural ochres (natural earth pigments), blending landscape with witnessed or remembered events, family anecdotes and dreamtime stories. Her landscapes map the World Heritage listed Kimberley region using dots to delineate colour forms in the style of the Turkey Creek (Warmun) art movement.

Group Exhibitions

2006-2007 - Gifted: Contemporary Aboriginal Art: The Mollie Gowing Acquisition Fund, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

2004 - North by North-West: Contemporary Indigenous Art from the Queensland Art Gallery Collection, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; EXPLAINED, A closer look at Aboriginal art, Aboriginal Art Museum, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

2003 - Raft Art Space, Darwin, NT.

2002-2005 - Native Title Business - Contemporary Indigenous Art, a national travelling exhibition.

1995 - Paintings by Warmun Women, Australian Girls Own Gallery, Kingston, ACT.

1994, Australian Heritage Commission National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award Exhibition, Old Parliament House, Canberra; Bush Women, Fremantle Arts Centre, Perth, Western Australia; Power of the Land, Masterpieces of Aboriginal Art, National Gallery of Victoria.

1993, Images of Power, Aboriginal Art of the Kimberley, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

1993 - The Tenth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.

1992 - The Ninth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.

1991 - Aboriginal Women Painters, Art Gallery of NSW [touring]; Eighth National Aboriginal Art Award Exhibition, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin; Aboriginal Women's Exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.


1998 Western Australian State Living Treasures Award, Perth, WA

1998 National Female Elders Award, NAIDOC Week, Broome, WA


Aboriginal Art Museum, The Netherlands

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth

Berndt Museum of Anthropology, University of Western Australia

Edith Cowan University Collection Perth WA.

Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide.

Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth.

Myer Gatner Collection, USA.

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane

Robert Holmes a Court Collection

Thomas Vroom Collection, The Netherlands

Ranking - Most Important Australian Indigenous Artists (both living and deceased)

2011 Ranked 23/200

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