Born: Darwin, NT
COMMUNITY: Utopia, NT
Freddy Purla was born in 1968 in Darwin. The son of talented artist Barbara Weir and grandson of the late Minnie Pwerle, Freddy is also the adopted great-nephew of the famous late Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Surrounded by famous artists and inspired by the success of his extended family, he began painting in 1989.
Purla had regularly visited Utopia with his family as a very young child, often staying for long periods before travelling on to Alice Springs or Adelaide. One of his most vivid memories as a child was of the strange looking creature, the Scorpion.
Co-incidentally, the Scorpion Dreaming was then passed down to him by his grandmother's family. As its sting is often very painful, the scorpion is left undisturbed and respected at all times. It is rarely seen during the day and only the desert sands display the signs of the scorpion's track. Purla's paintings represent the courtship dance between the male and female scorpion. Each scorpion interlock their pincers together while traveling back and forth in what can only be described as a dance. After several hours and as much as 24 hours, the tracks that are left behind create an artwork in itself on the ground. The tracks which are criss-crossed over and over again are rare to find in the desert. Freddy's paintings powerfully represent the energy and vigour of the many movements made by the scorpions in their ritual desert dance.
Inspired by the artworks of his great aunt, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, in recent years Freddy has expanded his repertoire to include dub dub style paintings which explore the colours of his and Emily's country.
Freddy Purla's work has sold to collections in Australia, Germany, Amsterdam, Paris, Switzerland and New York.
Awards and Recognition
2021 Fisher's Ghost Art Award, Campbelltown - Finalist Open Category
2021 Fisher's Ghost Art Award, Campbelltown - Finalist Contemporary Category
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2021 Freddy Purla | A Celebration of Country, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
Selected Group Exhibitions
2021 Top Ten Artists 2020, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2020 Colours of Spring, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 defining tradition | black + white, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2019 defining tradition | the colourists, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2018 Earth's Creation, Emily Kame and Family, Kate Owen Gallery, Sydney
2008 Gallery Mbantua, Alice Springs
2008 Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne
2007 Gallery Savah, Sydney
2005 Solander Gallery, Canberra
2006 Gallery Savah, Sydney
2004 Utopia Dreams, Dacou Gallery, Adelaide
2003 Tandanya Institute, Adelaide
2002 Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane
2000 Major exhibition of Dacou artists, sponsored by AMP.
1999 Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney
1998 Quadrivium Gallery, Sydney