At the beginning of last year Melbourne artist Emma Morgan moved to the Northern Territory to work for Papunya Tula Artists, an Aboriginal art company. For seven months she helped operate the company’s two art studios in Kintore, NT and Kiwirrkurra, WA – remote communities situated in the Western Desert between Alice Springs and Port Hedland. Inland Ocean is a series of paintings, drawings and prints started in this time.
One of the daily highlights of life on community was the boldly printed clothing worn by the ladies at the studio – loud florals and clashing animal prints paired together with the odd bit of tie-dye or football paraphernalia thrown in for good measure. The mutual appreciation of one another’s clothing offered a rare point of commonality outside of the business of art making and the complexities of community life.
The act of making these works became a kind of meditation in the face of isolation, beauty and occasionally overwhelming cultural difference. Since leaving the desert Emma has continued to make work that reflects the developments made in her practice while living in the desert – where contemplations on form and color can become a medium for processing experience, loss and the ambiguous realities of everyday life.
Emma Morgan is originally from NSW and spent her formative years in New Zealand. She returned to Australia in 2005, and completed a Master of Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2008. She has exhibited in various locations around Australia and New Zealand, co-ran Seventh Gallery from 2008 – 2010, worked at the National Gallery of Victoria from 2009 – 2012 and at Papunya Tula Artists in 2012. Emma is currently completing a Master of Social Work at RMIT.