Insightful WA artworks return

New York based professor Ellen Kraly helped bring the collection of stolen generation art from the US to the John Curtin Gallery. Picture: Martin Kennealey d408521
New York based professor Ellen Kraly helped bring the collection of stolen generation art from the US to the John Curtin Gallery. Picture: Martin Kennealey d408521

Prof Kraly played an important role in bringing the exhibition’s artworks, which were in New York for 47 years, back to WA.

The collection was discovered in storage crates at the University’s Picker Art Gallery in 2004.

The collection of 122 drawings and paintings by stolen generation children from the Carrolup Native School and Settlement near Katanning had been stored at Colgate University since 1966.

The John Curtin Gallery was given the artworks, which date back to 1945. Prof Kraly and her students looked at Aboriginal art across Perth and also visited South West communities.

The students visited the Carrolup Settlement, spoke with elders in the South West and also assisted with several community projects.

John Curtin Gallery director Chris Malcolm said the collection was an important educational resource, particularly for the WA Noongar community.

‘The art was done by children aged seven to 14 without any formal training, just responding quite innocently to the landscape,’ he said.

‘The material was so sensitive it was important it came to the right place to be fully appreciated.’

The exhibition will run until October 20.