(c.1930 - 1998)
Queenie McKenzie was active/lived in Australia. Queenie McKenzie is known for Aboriginal painting.
Born on the western side of the Ord River on Old Texas Station, Queenie McKenzie lived her entire life in the East Kimberley. Her mother was a Malngin/Gurundji woman and her father was a white horse breaker on Texas Downs Station. With no mission contact and no western schooling Queenie had a very traditional Aboriginal upbringing and miraculously she was never removed from her family despite her fair skin and blonde hair. However, later in life she became a stalwart of the Roman Catholic faith and was well known for her hearty singing.
In the early 1970s all the “Texas Mob” moved to Turkey Creek (now known as Warmun) which lies adjacent to Texas Downs Station. Queenie became a senior member of the community, a teacher of Gija language and culture and she also played an important role in native title claims in the region.
Queenie had a forthright and vital personality and she threw her considerable energy into all aspects of community life at Warmun.
In the early 1980s she was producing art for the local school and by 1986 she started painting dreamtime stories of Emu and Crow and of Mary, Mother of Jesus.
Her painting career began, it is said, in 1990 when she was camped beside the Ord River near Wertim (Red Butte Mountain) and while drawing in the sand she declared that she too would make paintings like Rover Thomas. And that was the beginning of Queenie’s career in painting for the commercial art market.
By the early 1990s Queenie was living in the pensioner quarters at Warmun so she could give more time to her painting. Canvases and ochre pigments (sourced locally) were provided from the local art center. Queenie was particularly innovative with her mixing of ochres to achieve especially the pink and mauve effects which were obtained by mixing red ochre with white kaolin (clay). This is a trademark of her work.
The majority of Queenie’s paintings reflect a close connection to Texas Downs area – this is the landscape and country she knew intimately.
Dr Catherine Carr