Natalie Austin’s ‘Memory of Water’ opens at The Mill

Natalie Austin painting, courtesy of Arts Ceduna

A new solo exhibition by Antikjrita woman Natalie Austin, speaking to her connection and relationship to Country, will be presented by The Mill as part of SALA Festival 2022.

The exhibition, Memory of Water, begins on July 29, and will show her connection to Coober Pedy.

Natalie has been painting for almost 30 years and the exhibition will be her first solo. It will feature 10 new large scale works.

“The exhibition is mostly about Coober Pedy, where I come from and where I grew up. I usually do my artwork with the white dirt, the brown dirt and the colours of the opal. These paintings also have the wildflower colours that come out after a big rain, it’s very pretty,” Natalie said.

Wangkangurru woman and independent curator Marika Davies worked with Natalie to present the exhibition.

Curator Marika Davies with Natalie Austin’s work Red Opal I, Photo: Chloe Metcalfe

“As a curator, it is important to be able to showcase our region – Port Augusta and the mid-North. Audiences can come to The Mill from anywhere and realise that this artist is just a three-to-four hour drive up the road from Adelaide. You can see the painting, the colours and the shapes in the gallery, and you can visit the landscape and see the story of the Country,” said Marika.

Yankunytjatjara / Kokatha woman and well-known poet Ali Cobby Eckermann was commissioned to write an essay in response to Memory of Water.

“…Natalie recalls watching large rainclouds filling the sky, the ensuing rainstorms soaking into the desert sand and the rehydrated fields of wildflowers as far as the eye can see. Like the opal, water sits between the spheres, creating regular patterns that reveal to a well-trained eye. This is a thrilling vista for all who have witnessed this, and one that Natalie holds dear to her heart, because her mother taught her to see these spheres of influence.”Ali Cobby Eckermann.

The Memory of Water exhibition is running from 18 July to 16 September, with the opening night on July 29 from 6-8pm at The Mill Exhibition Space in Adelaide. Entry is free.