Sonia Kurarra grew up in the river country at Yungngora (Noonkanbah) around 1952. As an adult, she used to help the local kindergarten teacher and would take the children out to the Sandy Billabong and teach them how to paint and dance. Sonia began painting at Mangkaja in the early 1990s, working mostly on paper. Since 2008, Sonia has been working predominantly on canvas and her practice has become more consistent.
Sonia paints the sandy billabong country along the stretch of the Fitzroy River that runs directly behind her community. After the flood waters recede, there are billabongs that hold a plentiful supply of parlka (barramundi), kurlumajarti (catfish) and bream. She paints gapi (fish), parrmarr (rocks) where the fish is cooked, ngurti (coolamon) and karli (boomerang). Sonia paints these images over and over as though they are etched into her psyche.
Some of Sonia's works are linear representations in monotones and others are layers, lathered with wild and confident brushstrokes. Her contemporary compositions display an outstanding understanding of colour.
Courtesy of Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency