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Roy Kennedy

(Australia 1934 – )

Language group
Wiradjuri, Southern Riverine region
Simple life on a mission
Other titles:
A simple life on a mission
Place of origin
SydneyNew South WalesAustralia
Cultural origin
Media category
Materials used
etching, printed in black ink on white wove paper

16.0 x 18.0 cm platemark; 19.0 x 20.0 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
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

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.

"'Simple life on a mission': Life was what you made it but when you came on to a mission you had to learn the customs of the elder and abide by their rules".

Bibliography (1)

Roy Kennedy’, How soon they forget: the art of Roy Kennedy, ‘Works, pg. 49-52, Australian Capital Territory, 2009, 49. tiled and dated ‘A simple life on a mission’ 2001