Griffith, New South Wales, Australia born 1934
I'm never alone.
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: prints, ink; paper etching, printed in black ink, from one plate Support: thick off-white wove paper
Manufacturer's Mark: No manufacturer's mark.
Edition State: published state
Edition: edition of 30
Wiradjuri artist Roy Kennedy was born in the early 1930s in Griffith in central New South Wales. Kennedy spent his childhood on a government-run mission located on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, downstream from Narrandera and Hay. As a young man he worked on farms in the district and later moved to Sydney. In 1995 he enrolled at the Eora Centre for Aboriginal Studies at the Sydney Institute of Technology where he pursued his interest in printmaking. He was student and artist of the year at Eora in 1999, and won a NAIDOC Week award that same year.
Kennedy’s etchings provide a graphic documentation of his memories of the Aboriginal mission environment. Through his sure placement of key elements – the church, the police station, his own mission hut and recreation areas – a vivid and very personal picture emerges of how people lived on the mission during the Depression. Of I’m never alone he writes ‘all my lovely memories of my mission are always there. Some are sad times and some are good memories’. His family had been moved from nearby stations to the mission many years before and the concept of relocation is a constant theme in his art. Of Mission boy dreams Kennedy recalls ‘from far back as I can remember I’ve always wondered when we would have our own home and years on I’m still wondering’.
The mission on which Kennedy spent his youth was closed in 1941. His graphic etchings provide us with a historically acute and sensitive picture of mission life during this period.
Curatorial Assistant, Australia Prints and Drawings
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra