Paula Roberts, Untitled, 2016, acrylic on canvas; photo: Matthew van Roden
8 October - 5 November, 2016
The Northern Centre for Contemporary Art is nestled in the heart of the Darwin suburb of Parap, home to vibrant local resident Paula Roberts. Roberts approached NCCA with the idea of presenting a selection of recent paintings of landscapes drawing on her mother’s country (Roper River, Southeast Arnhem Land) and her father’s country (Mataranka). The resulting selection focuses on the diverse life of the wetlands, particularly the waterlily which is Paula’s mother’s Dreaming. ‘I want the work to give recognition to my mother’, says Paula.
In her own unique fashion Roberts transformed the gallery frontage into a makeshift residency space, painting away over the period of several months, even setting up an ad hoc community art space in Vimy Lane for her friends and family. Roberts’s vivid and celebratory style translates clearly through her painting, which is on display in the NCCA Boxset window, overlooking Vimy Lane.
Paula Roberts is an artist from Ngukurr who also calls the famous Elsey Station at Mataranka home. ‘Ngarla Walili’ is Paula’s Aboriginal name in Mangarrayi language. Paula’s mother, Betty Roberts, is one of the Joshua sisters of whom several have become well-known artists including the late Gertie Huddlestone and Angelina George. Paula’s paintings generally celebrate country, the rich colours and flora/fauna of the Top End, often in a picturesque figurative style but also sometimes with a level of semi-abstraction. Paula has previously painted through Ngukurr Arts.