[by Liz Inglis]
Mrs Ngallametta, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2018, Blueclick Photography ©
Aurukun has sadly farewelled acclaimed artist Mrs Waal-Waal Ngallametta at her funeral in the community on February 20.
Mayor Dereck Walpo said the well-respected elder was Aurukun’s 2019 Citizen of the Year and her passing on January 28 was an enormous loss to the Cape York community.
“Mrs Ngallametta was an outstanding artist who took great pride in ensuring the culture of the Wik, Wik Way and Kugu people was maintained in Aurukun,” he said.
“Among her many arts awards was the Australian Council for the Arts 2018 Red Ochre Award for Lifetime Achievement which recognised the contribution she made through weaving, ghost net art and painting.
“She was the winner of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair’s People’s Choice Award in 2018 and was a finalist many times in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, winning its General Painting Award in 2013.
“Her outstanding body of work portraying the beauty and diversity of life in Aurukun is displayed in galleries and private collections around the world.
“Aurukun’s magnificent wetlands were often a subject in her work and she used pigments collected on country to depict her homeland.
“Mrs Ngallametta spent many hours recording her stories and traditions in language and in English to ensure the culture of Aurukun remained strong.
“An elder of the Puch clan, the 74-year-old generously shared her cultural knowledge with visitors and passed it on to the younger generations.
“Her significant contributions to the community include volunteering at cultural events, preparations for house openings and tombstone openings, school events and dance festivals.
“As a community, Aurukun mourns her passing and is thankful for the extraordinary cultural legacy she has left for future generations.”
Aurukun pays tribute to Wik and Kugu artist
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