My happy little mission
Roy Kennedy, like many Aboriginal artists, came to art-making late in life. As he says, "I am living proof that you're never too old to learn". Kennedy studied painting and later etching at the Eora Centre in inner city Sydney. Etching is his preferred medium and one that has revealed his strength of vision as an artist. Kennedy's work shares many similarities with other successful Eora graduates, such as HJ Wedge and Elaine Russell. Like these artists, Kennedy has forged a distinctive style that contributes to the growing strength of Indigenous art practice in urban centres.
Many of the senior artists working in the cities reflect on their younger lives growing up on missions in regional areas. This series of prints recall Kennedy's life on Police Paddock Mission, where his family were moved when the mission his mother was born on, Warangesda, was closed in 1925. Both missions were at Darlington Point, on the Murrumbidgee River, south west of Sydney.
Kennedy provides stories that accompany his images allowing the viewer a personal insight into the importance of the scene depicted:
"'My happy little mission': We loved our way on the mission because we didn’t know any better with the Aboriginal Protection Board ruling our lives. But we made bad into good and carried and shared".
etching, printed in black ink on white wove paper
11.5 x 24.0 cm platemark; 16.0 x 28.0 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r. corner, pencil "Roy D Kennedy". Not dated.
Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors’ Group 2012
© Roy Kennedy
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
Murruwaygu: following in the footsteps of our ancestors, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Nov 2015–21 Feb 2016
Referenced in 1 publication
Roy Kennedy’, How soon they forget: the art of Roy Kennedy, ‘Works, pg. 49-52, Australian Capital Territory, 2009, 49.