Sally tells me that her paintings are about “everyday life for Aboriginal people in Alice Springs, people living in Town Camps, people visiting from the bush who might stop at Town Camps or sleep in the creek”. She uses bright and painterly imagery paired with cursive script that describes the subject, attracting increasing attention. In 2019, Sally’s work is in the prestigious The National 2019: New Australian Art exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. She is a finalist in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards in 2019 (also 2018 and 2012), and the 2019 Sulman Prize (at the Art Gallery of New South Wales). She will also be featured in Adelaide’s TARNANTHI: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in October. Sally is having her second solo exhibition at Brisbane’s Edwina Corlette Gallery, Town Camp Stories, in June after a sell-out first show in April 2018. Corlette, who first saw Sally painting in Mparntwe, describes the work as “Heaven. I love the naivety and the narrative”.
In the catalogue for The National, emerging Arrente writer Terazita Turner-Young suggests that Sally “doesn’t mince her words; she is brutally honest about the presence of police, alcohol consumption, and people sleeping outside because they don’t have enough money to pay for a power card to connect electricity to their homes.
She contrasts this with text about people doing everyday activities like shopping, sleeping and cooking food, indicating just how ingrained and normal confronting situations such as a constant police presence are in her world… These are her true stories.
That these paintings disarm us with their charm does not mute the power of their communicative realities. Sally’s work is held in the Utrecht Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art, The University of Queensland’s Anthropology Museum, the Araluen Art and Cultural Precinct Collection and significant private collections throughout Australia.