Sarrita King was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1988. She is the younger sister to fellow artist, Tarisse King and daughter to the late highly regarded artist, William King Jungala (1966 – 2007).
Sarrita inherits her Australian Aboriginality from her father who was part of the Gurindji clan from the Northern Territory. The Gurindji clan came to public attention during the 1960s and 1970s when members employed by the Wave Hill cattle station led a landmark case which became the first successful land rights claim in Australia. It is this same strong sense of self and pride that Sarrita embodies and it fuels her drive to paint her totemic landscape.
Sarrita spent most of her youth growing up in Darwin in the Northern Territory. Not far from where her ancestors inhabited, it is here that her connection to her Aboriginality and subsequently the land was able to grow. Her exposure to the imperious weather and extreme landscape has provided the thematic for her works of art since she began painting at age 16. Rolling sand hills, cracking lightning and thunderstorms, torrential rain, fire, desert and tangled bush are all scathing environmental factors that shaped her fore father’s lives and also her own. Depicting these elements in her paintings, Sarrita provides a visual articulation of the earth’s language.
Stylistically, Sarrita utilises traditional Aboriginal techniques such as ‘dotting’ but also incorporates unorthodox techniques taught to her by her father as well as self developed practices. Her art is a fusion of past, present and future and represents the next generation of artists who have been influenced by both their indigenous history and current Western upbringing. Sarrita creates frenetic energy on the canvas with her Lightning series and searing heat with her Fire series. Her aesthetic has a universal appeal and provides an entry point for people to experience the power and uniqueness of the Australian landscape and its harsh climate. On a world scale, her depictions couldn’t be timelier.
Sarrita now paints in Adelaide in a shared studio with her sister. She has been included in over 20 exhibitions, is represented in galleries in every Australian state, included in many high profile Australian and international art collections, been auctioned successfully through Paris’ Art Curial and is about to embark on a European exhibition tour in 2010.
Sarrita also plays netball at a state level in South Australia. She is currently taking a hiatus from her Bachelor of Journalism at the University of South Australia to pursue her interest in digital media, specifically documentary making and focus on her art. At the age of 21, Sarrita King has many personal achievements but it is her desire to visually communicate her inspiration, the land, which keeps her ancestral narrative alive and provides a new way of looking back while looking forward.
2011, Feb - Connections, First Solo Exhibition Gallery 577, Melbourne
2010, Nov - Contemporary Auction Art Curial, France
2010, Rising Stars, Tarisse and Sarrita King, Aboriginal Art Galleries, Sydney, NSW
2010, In Our Father’s Eyes: works by sisters Tarisse and Sarrita King, Aboriginal Dreamtime Art Gallery, Los Angeles
2010, Fire & Lightning: Sarrita and Tarisse King, Central Art, Alice Springs
2009, William, Tarisse and Sarrita King, Aboriginal Art Galleries, Sydney
2009, Kaminabend mit Tarisse and Sarrita King, Aboriginal Art Galerie, Brit‘s Art, Übach-Palenberg, Germany
2009, The Three Kings, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2006, Sarrita King, National Aboriginal Cultural Institute (Tandanya), Adelaide
2010, Divas on the Cusp, Art on Hastings, Noosa Heads, Queensland
2010, Canterbury Art Exhibition, Canterbury, Victoria
2008, Aboriginal Art Auction, Customs House, Sydney
2009, Art Curial, Paris, France
2008, Canterbury Art Exhibition, Canterbury, Victoria
2008, The EWB exhibition, 14 exhibitions across Australia
Sarrita paints the naturally occurring waterholes she remembers travelling to around Alice Springs and Katherine. The scarcity of drinking water in certain regions means specific knowledge of where these waterholes are located, as well as their preservation methods, is paramount to survival. Today, Aborigines speak of where waterholes once were as many of them have dried up due to drought or diminished maintenance. When Sarrita traveled to see the waterholes with her father she saw many of them dried up and this is what she paints. Represented by the concentric circles, the waterholes are fed by underground streams pushing through land and rock. Sarrita shows these streams by ribbons of wavy lines intricately entwined across the canvas as muddy and dried ochre colours, just as she experienced them.