‘For me, it’s all about connecting the spiritually deep and rich history of the oldest culture in the world, with the amenities and anticipation of a cohesive and unified future. It’s about family, maintaining connection with my ancestors, telling stories of the land, repping my mob and giving our next generation a educational way forward. When you have your culture, you know who you are.’
In Adelaide South Australia, Tarisse King was born on September 4th 1986. She is older sister to artist Sarrita King and daughter of renowned influential indigenous artist, the late William King Jungala. The tribe from which she derives is the Gurindji. This now famous tribe came to public attention from 1966 – 1975 over land rights in what has become known as the Wave Hill Walk Off. It became the first successful indigenous land rights claim. This extraordinary event cemented for her, the deep and immovable connection with the land. This was her representative and deep seated influencer.
Tarisse grew up in the raw and confronting landscapes around Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. They were the influences she couldn’t ignore and coupled with the guiding insights provided by her father and his people, she saw the importance of art and representing our grand and wonderful country and its spirit so that all can ‘see’ where we live. The journeys between Katherine where her father lived and Darwin were long, arduous, isolated, dusty and simultaneously beautiful. Here, there’s no place to hide and the truth of expression she discovered in her art was especially poignant in works such as Pink Salts and My Country – Tracks and Rivers.
At the age of 16 the family moved to Adelaide where Tarisse began to paint – her ideas, influences, experiences, history and culture combined to produce in her a style that was not only illustrative of ancient culture but demonstrative of a contemporary hopefulness.
Now in a New Zealand, as a mother, homemaker, life-partner and community member, she feels, more than ever, the strongest connection between the past and future. The past gives us history, stability, stories and roots while the future endows us with hope, anticipation, change and the notion of belonging to something quintessentially human.
William King Jungala – the influence and legacy
William King was in possession of insights, philosophies and a spirituality that were totally unique and awe inspiring. His works emanated bold, breath-taking visions and depictions of an earth to which all of humanity belonged. And so his work often depicted ‘outer-space’ views of the land, its happenings and its appearance. Tarisse would also come to adopt this type of representational art style. However, she took it one step further by ‘zooming in’ to highlight the juxtaposition of both views. Her style became uniquely her own, just as it had been for her father.
A contemporary indigenous artist
‘It can be quite challenging sometimes. Combining my art with raising a family, being in a loving relationship and helping out in the community, is sometimes a logistic nightmare!’
Being a modern woman from the world’s oldest civilisation is in itself an iconic reality for Tarisse. Perhaps this is why she is able to produce art works that are so characteristically representative of her and her history.