Before Ray Ken began painting at Tjala Arts in 2003 (formerly Minymaku Arts) he had never painted in his life. He was one of the first men to begin painting at the art centre after a Men’s Painting Room was established to encourage the men to tell and paint their stories. Ken paints rockhole sites, knowledge of which is passed on from generation to generation and revered by all Anangu (people) Pitjantjatjara. He works slowly and is very meticulous but there is a unique contemporary vision to his imagery that sets Ray Ken apart from other artists.
In 1999, the community owned arts centre was established to assist the Amata people to develop artworks incorporating traditional iconography and also to develop community and cultural activities. Since its foundation Tjala Arts (formerly Minymaku) has concentrated on developing contemporary abstract imagery, using the artists’ law and culture as the innate inspiration.
Ray Ken joined the stable of artists at Alcaston Gallery in 2005, when he exhibited his paintings for the first time in a group exhibition. Since that time Ken’s vibrant artworks have been displayed in many national art exhibitions and collected by institutions including The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne and The University of Western Sydney, Sydney. Ray Ken was a finalist in the 2009 and 2011 Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award and presented a major body of work in the 2013 Western Indigenous Art Award and exhibition.
Ken features in the major exhibition For Country: for Nation at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 22 September 2016 – 27 September 2017, an important exhibition that shares the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contributions to the Australian Defence Forces. He was also featured in Nganaampa Kililpil: Our Stars at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, New South Wales – the first exhibition of its kind, presenting a major survey of art from the APY Lands; and in Length & Breadth – New acquisitions from the Parliament House Art Collection, at Parliament House, Canberra.
In 2017 Ray Ken will feature in the presitgious National Indigenous Art Triennial at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
© Tjala Arts & Alcaston Gallery, 2017
Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2014 Ngayulu Witira Kanyini, Ngayuku Tjukurpa - I Hold the Story of My Country, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2016 Kulata Tjuta, ALcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2011 Living Water: Contemporary Art of the Western Desert, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2011 Tjala Artists. Anangu maruku mulapa –This is our real way, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2012 Tjungu Kutju-tu - Together as One TJUNGU PALYA & TJALA ARTS, Aboriginal & Pacific Art, Waterloo, New South Wales, Australia
2012 Punu-nguru (from the trees), RAFT Artspace, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
2012 Punu ngangatja palkara tjarra – The trees are the strong fence, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2012 Uwankara kurunpa kutju-tjara – Our People, One Soul, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2013 Heartland – Contemporary Art from South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
2013 Nganampa Ngura, Nganampa Tjukurpa - Our Country, Our Culture, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2014 Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art: Dark Heart, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
2017 Artists of the APY Lands, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2009 Finalist, 26th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award
2011 Finalist, 28th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award
2013 Finalist, Western Australia Indigenous Art Award
For an extended CV, please contact Alcaston Gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org