Mangarri for the table

John Prince Siddon
19 June - 14 July 2024


Image: Courtesy of Arthouse Gallery, Sydney, Cement Fondu and Mangkaja Arts Centre

Spiders helping out weaving, green locusts, all next-door neighbours, same Country. – John Prince Siddon

The work of John Prince Siddon is a physical experience as much as a visual one, where the traditions of Indigenous and Contemporary art are challenged and transformed into unique motifs, stories and mark-making that transport us into the artist's world. His work is a poetry of visuals that challenges the way we see the Australian landscape. Often painting while watching the news, his work depicts the latest in culture, current affairs and global concerns, interwoven with desert iconography and the Narrangkarni (Dreamtime).

Working on canvas, oil drums, satellite dishes, kangaroo pelts, 3D printed bullock skulls, carved boab nuts, feathers and wood, Prince’s work is in his own words ‘all mixed up’; there are no rules or limits to his creative endeavours, instead all is a conduit for his artistic expression.

The title work, ‘Mangarri for the table’, meaning ‘food for the table’ in Walmajarri, depicts the recent class action against the Western Australian government for stolen wages that affected Prince’s family and community. The son of a stockman, Prince details this shameful mark on Australia’s history with his signature use of psychedelic colour that tears across the canvas, surrounding photographs of workers affected. The hand painted bull skull standing stark in the middle of the work, represents the labour that was undertaken, and the conditions they were forced to work under. Prince makes direct note of the women in his community who were forced to assist the men at the stations, whilst also caring for young families.

In celebration of NAIDOC week, we are delighted to present Mangarri for the table from John Prince Siddon in collaboration with Mangkaja Art Centre and Arthouse Gallery.

Siddon has been a finalist in the Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2023), The Fisher's Ghost Art Award (2022) and the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) at the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory (2021, 2020, 2019, 2018). He was also a featured artist at the Tarnanthi 2021 festival at the Art Gallery of South Australia. His solo exhibition All Mixed Up at the Fremantle Arts Centre, presented in conjunction with the Perth Festival 2020, was heralded as the ‘stand-out exhibition’ of the festival by John McDonald of the Sydney Morning Herald. In 2023, the Art Gallery of New South Wales commissioned Prince to paint three works for the opening of the much anticipated North Building, Sydney Modern Project which were exhibited in Dreamhome: Stories of Art and Shelter. In 2024, Arthouse Gallery presented Prince’s major solo exhibition Our Mother Tongue at Melbourne Art Fair, and in March, Disco Dreamtime Drumscurated by Emilia Galatis opened at Cement Fondu.