Vale Mr Mitchell, Warakurna Artists
1943 - 2013
3 June 2013

Image: Kunmanara Mitchell, Walu Tjukurpa, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 152.4 x 213.4 cm. Copyright The Artist's Estate and Warakurna Artists.

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Kunmanara Mitchell, Wakalpuka, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 101.6 x 101.6 cm

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Kunmanara Mitchell, Walu, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 101.6 x 101.6 cm

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Kunmanara Mitchell, Walu, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 101.6 x 101.6 cm

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We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mr Mitchell of Warakurna Artists. He was an extraordinary artist with a unique vision who has left us with a legacy of dazzlingly beautiful, important paintings. Every work he created was imbued with his intimate knowledge of Law and Country.

Mr Mitchell was born in 1943 in the remote desert of Western Australia and grew up living a semi-nomadic life. As a boy and young man, he travelled on foot all through his traditional country of Ngaturn and Walu with his family. Mr Mitchell was revered for his deep knowledge and practice of traditional law and sacred ceremonies.

He began painting at Warakurna in 2005 and quickly gained the attention of private and public collectors. His canvases were highly textured creations in vivid, sparkling colours. While jewel-like in quality, their subject matter drew on profoundly sacred knowledge that defined his life. He handled his chosen medium of paint on canvas with great authority and sensitivity.

Mr Mitchell's works were selected for several major public exhibitions, including Yamatji Pirni: Many Friendships at the Melbourne Museum; Desert Country at the Art Gallery of South Australia; and Living Water at the National Gallery of Victoria. He was twice a finalist in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award.

He will be greatly missed by the artworld, but even more by his family and community. It has been an honour to represent him from the beginning of his career at Warakurna Artists.

May he rest in peace.