South Australian visual artist Kunyi June Anne McInerney’s exhibition My Paintings Speak For Me will be on display at the Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre (formerly The Riddoch and Main Corner Complex) from Saturday 26 September 2020. The exhibition draws upon the artist’s childhood experiences as a member of the Stolen Generation growing up in the Oodnadatta Children’s Home during the 1950’s.
The Country Arts SA touring exhibition, curated by Maggie Fletcher will officially open via a Facebook live event at 12:30pm on Friday 25 September 2020, hosted by Riddoch Arts and Culture Officer Serena Wong.
“Join us live online via The Riddoch Facebook page for the opening of this exhibition and enjoy a sneak peek and insight into Kunyi’s work,” Ms Wong said.
Kunyi was taken from her mother Daisy McInerney, a Yankunytjatjara woman and placed in the Oodnadatta Children’s Home in 1955 at the age of four and has used painting as a means of reconciling her past and to share her stories so people can understand what happened to her and so many others.
“These are my stories from a dry, remote place where my experiences were so different from what Australian children know today,” Kunyi said.
“I want to tell my story, so they don’t ever do it again. They took away my family, my culture and who I could have been.”
“These are not fairy tales, they are true. I want people to understand what happened. Painting is the best way for me to tell my stories.”
Through the use of vibrant colour, facial expression and depiction of landscape the exhibition documents Kunyi’s memories and reflects on the strict upbringing she had alongside other children who became her only family.
“Kunyi is a master storyteller and this exhibition demonstrates not only her skill as an artist but also the power of her voice,” Ms Wong said.
After first showing at the Migration Museum in Adelaide for the 2018 Reconciliation week, Country Arts SA is now touring the exhibition throughout regional South Australia. In addition to the exhibition of paintings, audiences will have the opportunity to see Kunyi’s paintings and stories come to life through a commissioned artist video which sees sound and animation added to her imagery.
My Paintings Speak for Me touches on themes of separation from family, loss of culture and struggle, while finding moments of joy in the hardship with other children in the mission home.
My Paintings Speak For Me serves as a timely reminder of a history not often acknowledged and shines a light on the experiences of children from the Stolen Generation.
– Riddoch Arts and Culture Officer Serena Wong
“It is a vibrant, sad, joyous, heartbreaking exhibition that will not fail to move you.”
Kunyi’s work is held in public and private collections around Australia, the United States and Europe, including Queensland Art Gallery, Flinders University Art Museums, Brisbane City Council and the SA Migration Museum.
Kunyi June Anne McInerney: My Paintings Speak For Me will be on display at The Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre until Sunday 25 October 2020.