Kunred Kodbarre (The Louvre)

‘This design is new and tells a different story of when I went to Paris. This building in the middle of my design is the Louvre. We went and saw that big building made of glass and there were lots of people walking around. In Paris, there is a big creek made from bricks, with water flowing through the city. I have painted it here too, with the light poles next to it. There are so many tall buildings in Paris. When I see this design, I remember everything about my trip to Paris. For this design I had the idea of putting our Aboriginal bush tucker around the Louvre, so the plants here are kundayarr (pandanus), wayuk (water lily) and karrbarda (long yam). I painted some French trees too’. Deborah Wurrkidj 2021

In 2019, five artists from Babbarra Women’s Centre travelled to France for the opening of their exhibition Jarracharra: Dry Season Wind. Deborah Wurrkidj, Jennifer Wurrkidj, Janet Marawarr, Jacinta Lami Lami and Elizabeth Kala Kala danced at the opening of their exhibition which was a full embassy gallery. They hosted various public panels including the Musee du Quai Branly. The artists were featured in Vogue magazine wearing garments of their own printed designs. Am iconic memory is a photograph of the artists standing on the balcony of the Ambassador to France, with a panoramic view of the Eiffel Tower in the background.

After Jarracharra: Dry Season Wind, the exhibition stayed at the Australian Embassy in Paris for four months. It then toured Europe in 2020 and 2021, visiting the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium and the Australian Embassy in Madrid, Spain.

Inspired by the same voyage, on return to Maningrida Deborah Wurrkidj wove a sculpture of the Eiffel Tower out of naturally dyed pandanus, titled Ngaye ngawam nganang kunred kukimukken, kubba nakornamkuyeng karri (I travelled a long way away, to that place with the tall tower). The work was a finalist in the prestigious 2020 Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA).

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