brendan kelly exhibition

*Permission to depict Indigenous people and places from the Wullamatta region has been given to Brendan Kelly by Aunty Julie Janson, an Indigenous elder and fellow artist.

Brendan Kelly - the evolution of Wallumatta White Kid




Wallumatta White Kid

Brendan Kelly

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Wallumatta White Kid is Brendan Kelly’s latest solo exhibition of mixed media paintings inspired by his birth, early life, departure from, and recent return to the Sydney suburb of Ryde after a 30 year absence.


Born of a deep desire to revisit and reconnect with his birthplace in a region long ago named Wallumatta by its original Indigenous inhabitants, the artist uses an enormous natural sandstone boulder known as Whale Rock, located in the upper reaches of the Lane Cove River, as a starting point due to its close proximity to his exact place of birth, then follows the river, used as a metaphor for life’s journey, to the Sydney harbour basin and beyond.


Using a colour palette unique to Australia, people and places both past and present of the Wallumatta region are depicted using raw, direct language based visceral marks to create a visual landscape that is both figurative and abstract in attempt to address and possibly even resolve specific contemporary Australian conflicts, which are often universal.


The exhibition asks us to consider our relationship to the land where we are born, the culture we are raised in, and the journey or direction our lives take. Who were the original inhabitants of the Wallumatta region and what was their relationship and connection to the area? Where are they now? Can a non-Indigenous person feel the same deep and meaningful connection to their birthplace, as so many Indigenous Australians do? Do non-Indigenous people have the right to celebrate their ‘connection to country’ if indeed they feel one? Where do non-Indigenous Australians truly belong? What and who are considered true or real Australians now ?


It is hoped that the exhibition will acknowledge and honour the original inhabitants of the Wallumatta region as well as opening new dialogues regarding the arrival of non-Indigenous people and the inevitable changes they brought with them.

Brendan Kelly - Wallumatta White Kid exhibition on display
at The Wellington Gallery

Brendan Kelly - Artist talks about Whale In Waiting

Brendan Kelly - Artist talks about The Trouble With Fences

Wallumatta White Kid Catalogue

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