We are pleased to welcome back to our galleries, Katherine-based artist and Gurindji man Kamahi Djordon King—who needs no introduction. BLAK on a Hot Tin Roof in the K Space Gallery features his newest visual art work and is in part a reflection of Kamahi’s younger years and homage to the shanties that were built when he was a little kid.
“My Grandfather, George Kruger, purchased a large block on Second Street and built two of these for his family to live in. I remember it well, and those memories of yesterday have inspired much in this exhibition for Godinymayin.”
The works on display in our K Space gallery draw inspiration—literally and physically—from the tin walls of his childhood home where cement floors were wet down each morning—keeping the shanties cool during the heat of the day (and into the night). The exhibition also features Kamahi’s collectable and loveable Campdogs, canine figures made from paper clay and recycled materials, also a strong reminder of the canines from his childhood. The Campdogs are representative of the cheeky dogs that can still be found in Katherine and its surrounding Indigenous communities, wandering and of their own mind, whose antics are both adored and avoided.
The works in this exhibition also demonstrate Kamahi’s commitment to sustainability, all made from recycled materials like paper waste, discarded siding, and cotton left by road trains as they pass through Katherine: “I like to take unwanted things out of the environment, and then make something beautiful with little to no carbon pawprint.”
Kamahi’s art is also a very personal reflection of his own cultural heritage—exploring Indigenous Australian identity and local history: ” The word and the idea of BLAK represents an emergence from the past, and a new way that we Australian Aboriginal people represent and see ourselves. It is also the initials of my younger brother Bruce Lee Arthur King—so as acronym, the exhibition title is a tribute to him.”
BLAK on a Hot Tin Roof, created specially for our Centre as we look toward the dry season, is a statement of the artist’s past and his life growing up Indigenous in Katherine. Join us in celebrating Kamahi Djordon King’s versatility, dedication to sustainability, nostalgia, and latest body of work—and meet the artist on Friday 31 March from 6pm at Godinymayin!
About Kamahi Djordon King
Kamahi Djordon King is a Gurindji man, and a familiar face in the visual and performing arts—in Katherine, Darwin, Melbourne, and beyond. Born in Katherine, he returned after a long stint away and previously served as event and exhibition coordinator at Godinymayin.
Kamahi first started painting when he moved to Perth, Western Australia in 1994 and worked as artist in residence alongside the late Shane Pickett. Since then Kamahi has gone onto carve out a long career in the arts moving through various mediums and genres—and gaining new audiences across Australia. An accomplished performing artist, Kamahi has created Constantina Bush who was the muse for his first art award, the Copyright Agency Limited Award for Best Works on Paper—for a life-size poster of Constantina Bush titled “Attack of the Fifty Foot Black Gin” in the 2011 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards. More recently he was the recipient of the 2019 Artist of the Year, given at the Katherine NAIDOC Awards;
For this Godinymayin exhibition—BLAK on a Hot Tin Roof— Kamahi experiments with iron, recycled materials, and sculpture crafted out of paper clay. The beautiful wavy paintings featured in our K Space gallery are made on repurposed metal siding—resulting in gradients and shadows that bolster the patterns. The sculptures continue his well-loved series of Campdogs—each with a unique look, personality, and presence—made with cotton gathered from the roadside and making something beautiful with no carbon pawprint.
Kamahi Djordon King’s exhibitions include: Two Seasons Both Hot (Solo Exhibition), K Space Gallery, Godinymayin, in 2020; a world-wide travelling group exhibition in 2011; Big Story (solo exhibition) at the Dreaming Festival, Queensland, in 2009; and solo exhibitions Kamahi Djordon at the Koori Heritage Trust, Victoria, in 2008 and at the Mike Sill Gallery, Melbourne, in 2006.
Exhibitions and Awards
2020 Two Seasons, Both Hot Solo Exhibition in the K Space Godinymayin NT 2020
2019 Artist of the year, Katherine NAIDOC Awards
2011 Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) Best Works on Paper, Victorian Indigenous Art Awards
2009 Big Story Solo Exhibition Dreaming Festival, Queensland
2008 Kamahi Djordon King Solo Exhibition at the Koori Heritage Trust, Victoria
2006 Katherine stories Solo Exhibition at the Mike Sill Gallery, Melbourne