2022, Acrylic on cardboard, bamboo and paper string, 60 (h) x 89.5cm (w)
Ricky Emmerton's painting, Awakening Ritjinguthinha, depicts Kuathuat on its journey with the red ochre created by the red munuthangu shown as the red and black circle in the top right. The dotted lines represent the journey, and smaller circles are the colours left by the shed skin of Kuathuat. Kuathuat is painted with a white base on a black ground, then painted over with interference red which is a transparent micaceous paint with a metallic sheen. The interference red is Kuathuat’s new skin, and is representative of its regenerative, ceremonial powers. The figures in the lower left portray Ricky's uncle Jimmy passing on his knowledge. The two figures are conventional Kalkadoon rock art human figures, that are typically painted in solid monochrome red ochre. The figures and the other motifs are outlined with dots to enhance them, and this style reflects Kalkadoon body art which employs blood-feathering. Blood-feathering consists of balls of feather down coloured with ochre and adhered with blood to the bodies of men during a warrma (corroboree). The background is infilled with mintja thuuthuu or ‘shiny lines.’ The mintja thuuthuu line pattern was used for boomerang decoration where lines were incised into the wood using a possum tooth or sharp flint knife. The mintja thuuthuu line pattern, the colours and dots all signify the spiritual power of Ritjinguthinha by enhancing the painting with a flash of brilliance. As the old people would say when teaching Ricky to paint, “Make it look flash!”
Ricky Emmerton is a Kalkutungu man from northwest Queensland. Emmerton's work is held in the Artbank Collection in Sydney and was showcased in the exhibition From Where We Stand, a selection of landscape paintings from the Artbank collection, curated by Tony Stephens in 2018.
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