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Millie Skeen

Biography

Millie Skeen was born near Kiwirrkura and moved with her parents to Tjalwan, where the old Balgo Mission was established in 1942. She was one of the first women to paint at Balgo in 1986, and her development as an artist underwent a number of stylistic evolutions over the following years. While Millieâ??s early works employ the characteristically dark autumnal palette of Balgo paintings created between 1985 and 1989, she was one of the leaders of the movement amongst the female artists to adopt brighter colours thereafter.

Her works were accomplished and distinguishable by the time Balgo held its first exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 1989 and she was regularly featured in Balgoâ??s first commercial exhibitions. The contrast between fields of dots and flat blocks of colour add a delicate tension to Millie's paintings. Their elaborate composition reflects the patterns found in body and ground painting and defies a simple geographic reading. While all of the senior women artists at Balgo Hills during the early 1990s painted identifiably distinguishable work, Millieâ??s art exemplifies the verve and pride with which these women took to painting, thereby creating a distinctive art movement.

Her works stand out for both the beauty of their realisation, and the intimacy of their execution, as exemplars for future generations of Balgo women to emulate. In this work, most likely assisted by her husband Tommy Skeen, the artist has depicted her husband's country. Here the Nakarra Nakarra ceremony brings all of the women together to dance.

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Aboriginal Art (991)