Sonia Kurarra grew up in the river country at Yungngora (Noonkanbah). As a young woman she assisted with teaching art to children at the Yungngora Kindergarten. They used to take the children out to the Sandy Billabong and teach them how to paint and dance. There is an ngarrangkarni [Dreamtime] snake that lives in the billabong. His name is Nangurra.
Sonia began painting at Mangkaja in the early 1990s working mostly on paper. Since 2008, Sonia has been working predominantly on canvas and more recently perspex her practice has become more recognised and included in major awards. Sonia’s work is now in most major collections within Australia and highly sought after by both national and international galleries and collectors.
Sonia paints the sandy billabong country along the stretch of the Fitzroy River that runs directly behind the community. After the food waters recede, there are billabongs that hold a plentiful supply of parlka [barramundi], kurlumajarti [catish] and bream. She paintsgapi[fish],parrmarr[rocks] where the Fish is cooked, ngurti [coolamon] and a karli [boomerang].
Sonia paints these images over and over as though they are etched into her psyche; works that are linear representations in monotones and others that are layers lathered on with wild and confident brush strokes and mark making. These contemporary compositions display an outstanding understanding of colour and composition. Sonia is one of the cornerstones of Mangkaja Arts and contemporary art making for the Fitzroy Valley region
2020 37th Telstra NATSIAA Award Finalist. Darwin, NT
2019 36th Telstra NATSIAA Award Finalist Darwin, NT.
2019 Dobell Drawing Prize Sydney, NSW.
2018 Hadley’s Art Prize Finalist, Hobart, Tas.
2018 35th Telstra NATSIAA Award Finalist, Darwin, NT.
2018 Wynne Art Prize Finalist, Art GAllery of NSW, Sydney, NSW.
2016 Port Hedland Art Awards Port Hedland, WA
2015 BankWest Art Prize
2015 Overall winner – Kimberley Art Prize
2012 Winner of Most Outstanding Work – Hedland Art Awards
2010 Winner of Best Indigenous work – WA Art Awards
2010 Winner of Best Indigenous work – Hedland Art Awards
2020 Sonia Kurarra Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney, NSW.
2016 SONIA HANGING VALLEY, QVC, Melbourne, VIC.
2014 Sonia Kurarra ReDot Fine Art Gallery, Singapore.
2014 Sonia Kurarra Gabrielle Pizzi Gallery, Melbourne, VIC.
2013 Sonia Kurarra Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney, NSW.
2013 Sonia Kurarra FORM Gallery, Perth, WA.
2012 Sonia Kurarra FORM Gallery, Perth, WA.
2012 Sonia Kurarra Gabrielle Pizzi Gallery, Melbourne, Vic
2011 Sonia Kurarra Short St Gallery, Broome , WA
2010 Sonia Kurarra Randall Lane Fine Art, Perth, WA
2009 Sonia Kurarra Randell Lane Fine Art, Perth, WA
2009 Sonia Kurarra Gallery Gondwana, Sydney, NSW
2009 Sonia Kurarra Short St Gallery, Broome , WA
2020 Looking Back, Looking Forward Aboriginal Contemporary, Sydney, NSW.
2020 Mangkaja Stars Legacy to uphold Aboriginal Signature Estrangin Gallery, Belgium.
2020 Mangkaja Perspex Aboriginal Contemporary, Sydney, NSW.
2020 Creative Growth Artists Outsider Art Fair NYC
2019 Journey through Culture: Tarnanthi Redot @Nrthspace, Adelaide, SA.
2019 Meeting Places: Mangkaja Arts and Creative Growth. Creative Growth Oakland, CA
2019 The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW.
2019 Desert, River, Sea: Portrait of the Kimberleys AGWA, Perth, WA.
2018 Two Sisters Aboriginal Pacific Art Sydney
2017 Mangkaja Artists – Tanarnthi Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, SA.
2017 Mangkaja Waters Short St Gallery, Broome, WA.
2016 PINAKARRILUNY MARNALUNYA ReDot Fine Art Gallery, Singapore
Darwin, NT Perth, WA
Tandanya, Adelaide, SA Darwin, NT
Bankwest Art Gallery, Perth, WA
Museum of Northern Territory, Darwin, NT Aboriginal and Pacific Art, NSW
Randell Lane Fine Art, Perth, WA
Holmes a Court Gallery, Perth, WA and Kimberley Aboriginal Artists
Caspary Conference Centre, University of NSW Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT
NGALIMPAKURA ARTISTS JARLU PALU WANTINYA
2015 Salon De Refuse
2015 Bankwest Art Prize
2015 Tarnathi ‘Works of Significance’
2015 Salon de Refuse
2014 Kimberley Art Prize
2013 Bankwest Art Prize
Australian and Torres Strait Islander Award
Sonia Kurarra and Cory Surprise 2009 Mangkaja Artists 60×60
2009 Sharing Difference on Common Ground
2009 Shalom Gamarada 2009 East Meets West