Australian Aboriginal Artists : Tarisse and Sarrita King

Tarisse and Sarrita King are sisters, Tarisse was born in 1986, Sarrita in 1988. Their father was a prominent Aboriginal artist himself, William King Jungala(1966-2007).

On Tarisse King: (from Kate Owen‘s Gallery site):

Tarisse is a daughter of well-known artist, William King Jungala. An urban Aboriginal artist, she was born on September 4th 1986 in Adelaide. She moved to Darwin to live with her mother at the age of nine, but returned to Adelaide in 2003 to pursue a career in hospitality. However, living with her father she was exposed to art and her engagement with it grew. She began painting her father’s stories including his five elements, earth images and other designs, which she learned and inherited from William, and as her involvement grew she began experimenting with her own techniques and designs.

Following her father’s passing in 2007, she continues to spend much of her time in the studio, alongside her sister Sarrita, who is also an emerging artist carrying their father’s legacy.

I found Sarrita King’s Facebook page, where she provides details about her life, what inspires her to create Aboriginal Art, and a list of exhibitions. Here’s an excerpt from her profile page:

Sarrita King was born in Adelaide, South Australia on the 5th March 1988. She is the younger sister to fellow artist, Tarisse King and daughter to the late highly regarded artist, William King Jungala (1966 – 2007).

Sarrita inherits her Australian Aboriginality from her father who was part of the Gurindji tribe from the Northern Territory. The Gurindji tribe came to public attention during the 1960s and 1970s when members employed by the Wave Hill cattle station led a landmark case which became the first successful land rights claim in Australia. It is this same strong sense of self and pride that Sarrita embodies and it fuels her drive to paint her totemic landscape.

Sarrita spent most of her youth growing up in Darwin in the Northern Territory. Not far from where her ancestors inhabited, it is here that her connection to her Aboriginality and subsequently the land was able to grow. Her exposure to the imperious weather and extreme landscape has provided the theme for her works of art, since she began painting at age 16. Rolling sand hills, cracking lightning and thunderstorms, torrential rain, fire, desert and tangled bush are all scathing environmental factors that shaped her forefather’s lives and also her own. Depicting these elements in her paintings, Sarrita provides a visual articulation of the earth’s language.

Stylistically, Sarrita utilises traditional Aboriginal techniques such as ‘dotting’ but also incorporates unorthodox techniques inherited from her late father, as well as self-developed practices. Her art is a fusion of the past, present and future and represents the next generation of artists who have been influenced by both their indigenous history, and current Western upbringing. Sarrita creates frenetic energy on the canvas with her Lightning series and searing heat with her Fire series. Her aesthetic has a universal appeal and provides an entry point for people to experience the power and uniqueness of the Australian landscape and its harsh climate. On a world scale, her depictions couldn’t be more seasonable and well-timed.

Sarrita now paints in Adelaide in a shared studio with her sister. She has been included in over 20 exhibitions, is represented in galleries in every Australian state, included in many high profile Australian and international art collections and been auctioned several times successfully through Paris’ Art Curial Auction house.
Sarrita is currently taking a hiatus from her Bachelor of Journalism at the University of South Australia to pursue her interest in digital media, specifically documentary making and focus on her art. Only at the age of 22, Sarrita King has many personal achievements but it is her desire to visually communicate her inspiration, the land, which keeps her ancestral narrative alive and provides a new way of looking back while looking forward.

I believe the information on both sisters may be out of date. Tarisse’s Facebook page indicates she is currently living in New Zealand. Whatever the case may be, the King sisters continue to collaborate on projects, as well as painting in their own distinctive styles.

Here are some examples of Tarisse King’s work: (Google Images)

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Here are some examples of Sarrita King’s work: (Google Images)

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3 thoughts on “Australian Aboriginal Artists : Tarisse and Sarrita King

    1. I keep thinking I’d like to try my hand at making my own art like this, but the idea of mixing paints and making a mess puts me off. I admire how these artists are able to sustain their creative thought process over such large expanses of canvas.

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