Boodjar: Through the Works of Meeyakba Shane Pickett

Boodjar: Through the Works of Meeyakba Shane Pickett

Meeyakba Shane Pickett (1957–2010) is regarded as one of the foremost Noongar artists of his generation, developing a unique visual language to express the energy and character of the South West landscape.

Painting with a deep cultural knowledge of what was, is and will be, Pickett's artworks change the way we see, embody and experience the nature of place.

Boodjar: Through the Works of Meeyakba Shane Pickett showcases a collection of the artist’s works on paper, from the earliest part of his practice in the 80s through to his final years (2007), bringing together a range of works often not exhibited together, allowing the viewer a deeper understanding of his practice and ability to switch between mediums and materials.

Featuring a poetic response alongside the works, from Wajarri/Badimaya/Wilunyu (Yamaji Nation) poet and long-time friend of the artist, Dr Charmaine Papertalk Green, Pickett’s continuous connection to Boodjar (Country) and his artistic vision – “To create artworks that honour Nyoongar traditions and culture.” – Violet Pickett is, in a small way, revealed here.

Thru the Hands of Meeyakba
Dr Charmaine Papertalk Green

Thru Meeyakba hands many narratives unfold
universe and country songlines marked on
Canvas, paper for story mapping of old paths
Thru white dotted lines and white tree trunks

Read the full poem here

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About Meeyakba Shane Pickett

Ballardung Noongar man, Meeyakba Shane Pickett (1957-2010), always knew he wanted to be an artist. Growing up in Quairading, a small town in the wheatbelt region east of Perth, Pickett’s father encouraged him to work on the family farm, but he insisted on pursuing a career as an artist. With family support, Pickett moved to Perth as a teenager, and despite no formal training, his first exhibition at the age of 19 was an enormous success. Encouraged to formalise his skills, Pickett graduated from the Claremont School of Art in 1983. Subsequent successful exhibitions followed as well as opportunities in theatre set design, poster and graphic design, and public art.

Meeyakba Shane Pickett explored his passion and love for Boodjar (Country) through painting. In his earlier works, he drew inspiration from the Carrolup Native Settlement, colourful landscapes produced by Noongar child artists, and from the works of the late Albert Namatjira. In the last decade of his career, he explored a more abstract approach. His figurative landscapes articulate a balance of expressive and painterly characteristics with segments of clear details, while his later works are stripped back into abstraction, where a sense of place is narrated through the elemental aspects of the land. However, even as his work became more abstract, the sophistication of landscape remained. Shane Pickett remains an artistic inspiration and acknowledged leader in the Noongar community for the way in which his practice evolved, and with it, the appreciation from wider Australia for the work of Aboriginal artists from the south-west of Western Australia.

On Saturday 27 August, the Gallery is open 10am-3pm only as we prepare for the AGWA Foundation Gala supporting women in the arts. Some exhibition access will be disrupted with two Tracks We Share ground floor galleries closed. AGWA Rooftop bar will be closed, reopening at 2pm Sunday. Details