You don’t get centenary celebrations much bigger than this in the art world: the Archibald Prize for portraiture turns 100 this month. Last year Vincent Namatjira was the first Aboriginal artist to take the prize … and this year we see Sally Mulda and Thea Perkins included in the finalists’ hang for the prize.
They didn’t get the prize, but it is a huge honour to be included in the hang.
Ms Mulda’s work is typical of her oeuvre, depicting life in our town camps, as was observed in the catalogue for a one-woman show she held at Raft last year:
A dispassionate and deep observer of life, in ways that go well past any idea of consultants’ reports, her distinctively vibrant hand-painted descriptions play as bold headlines to her paintings. To what is happening in them and to the lived environment of the town camps. She is, through this life observed, revealing the hidden histories that manifest themselves every day.
It is fitting that last year’s Alice Prize winner sees Arrernte artist, Thea Perkins, a granddaughter of Charles Perkins—a former inmate of The Bungalow—being honoured alongside Sally Mulda, with a beautiful portrait of her aunt, Rachel Perkins. Thea has a working relationship with Tangentyere Artists, which in turn supports the work of town camp artists such as Sally.
It’s a way off yet, but the Advocate Art Award will be back this year, with $7000 in prizes across nine categories, with entries closing 16 July. Enter online at caasinc.org/advocate-art-award.
You can check our online selection of art books via this link: Art books with more in-store.
We hope you enjoy this week’s selection of spotlights!
Bronwyn, John, Stephanie, Jo, Thor, Kelly Lee & Bernadette
Author Spotlight! Craig Silvey
One of Red Kangaroo Books favourite authors, Craig Silvey, is one of the feature authors of NT Writers Festival in August this year (26th – 29th). Silvey has twice been named one of the Best Young Australian Novelists by The Sydney Morning Herald, and has been shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. His 2009 second novel was selected by the American Library Association as “Best Fiction for Young Adults” in their 2012 list, and was made into the movie Jasper Jones in 2017.
Vale Eric Carle
Sad to farewell one of our favourite children’s authors, Eric Carle, who died last week at the age of 91. Best known for his 1969 book The very hungry caterpillar—which sold 55 million copies—he authored another 70 books including, for example, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? which he co-wrote and illustrated with Bill Martin Jnr.
Carle said the hungry caterpillar was inspired by a hole punch: “One day I was punching holes with a hole puncher into a stack of paper, and I thought of a bookworm and so I created a story called A Week with Willi the Worm.” Carle was familiar with “differently shaped pages” from books that he read as a child in Germany.
A Week with Willi the Worm featured a bookworm named Willi. Ann Beneduce, Carle’s editor, advised that a green worm would not make a likable protagonist. “Then my editor suggested a caterpillar instead and I said ‘Butterfly!’ That’s how it began,” Carle recalled.
For an Obituary for Carle, see https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/may/27/eric-carle-obituary
It brought to mind the importance of the many children’s books and we’ve highlighted some favourites with our young (and not so young) readers.
To DVD or not to be
Yes we know, a truly dreadful pun. A reminder, though, that we have an extensive range of DVDs—many of which focus on central Australia and beyond to Arnhem Land. Come in and check them out, or you are out of town you can see our range on our website link to DVD’s.
Bitumen and dirt
Last days of Bitumen and Dirt at Araluen Monday sees the last day to view the retrospective of 30 years of artwork by Wayne “Iggy” Eager in central Australia.
Unfortunately Iggy was stuck in Melbourne due to the lockdown so we’ve missed a discussion between him and Russell Goldflam. Meanwhile, this is a link to a great review of the show from Kieran Finnane.
Catalogues for the exhibition are still available at Red Kangaroo Books.
Read the books, the film adaptations are on the way!
In some great news over the past fortnight, it has been announced that two Australian women writers are to have their books hit the big time on the screen.
Sigourney Weaver is to lead an adaptation of Holly Ringland’s book The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart for Amazon.
The streamer has ordered a series adaptation of the Ringland’s debut Australian novel with Weaver starring in and exec producing.
It marks the latest Australian original for Amazon Prime Video.
The seven-part series, a tale of female resilience, friendship, and the power to overcome tragedy, is produced by Made Up Stories, Amazon Studios and Endeavor Content and will be filmed in Australia.
Meanwhile, Typecast Entertainment has optioned Tara June Winch’s novel The Yield for the screen, with Tony Briggs and Kodie Bedford to write the script.
Published in 2019, the book follows Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi, who takes pen to paper, knowing that he will soon die.
Having spent his life on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains, Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered.
Both books have been favourites at Red Kangaroo Books, and we have more in stock!
Red Kanga Bookclub
Our book for this month is Beyond Alice by Tanya Heaslip.
Red Kanga Book Club meets (via Zoom) on the first Thursday of the month, 7pm.
Happy reading, we look forward to the discussion.
New or back in store
Storm Warning by Lauren Doyle & Alyssa Mason
Eco Dimensions by Seraphina Newberry,
Mixed Feelings by Declan Miller
Care and Fear: The New Politics by George-Megalogeni
The Story of Australia by Don Watson
Animal by Lisa Taddeo
After Story by Larissa Behrendt
Dear Son by Thomas Mayor
Oligarchy by Scarlett Thomas
True Tracks by Terri Janke
The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas
Albert Namatjira by Vincent Namatjira
Papa Mawal-Mawalpa Tjuta by Johann Bell-nga munu Dion Beasley-nya
A Swim in the Pond in the Rain by George Saunders