Clan groups: Indjalandji
Language groups: Alyawarr
Shirley Macnamara was born in northwest Queensland and grew up on pastoral properties on the Barkly Tablelands in Queensland and in the Northern Territory. She maintains close ties to her mother’s Country at Camooweal, Indjalandji Dhidhanu, and her late father’s Country at Lake Nash, Alyawarr.
Shirley uses natural materials, including spinifex, ochre, animal bones and feathers, to create sculptural objects such as guutu (vessels), baskets and large installations that reflect forms found in nature. Most of the materials are found while she is out mustering, including the spinifex grass that she weaves into objects and sculptures that recall traditional Indjalandji Country surrounding Camooweal and her home on Mt Guide in far north-west Queensland.
In 2017, she was awarded the Wandjuk Marika Memorial Three-Dimensional Award at the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards and in 2019 she had a retrospective exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane. Shirley’s works have been collected by most Australian public institutions, including the Cairns Art Gallery, Queensland.
She is represented by Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.
FACELESS Transforming Identity: Blak/Black Artists from North Australia, Africa and the African Diaspora
25 Jun – 2 Oct 2022
between tradition and innovation
17 Oct – 10 Jan 2021
Shifting the Narrative
27 Jun – 10 Oct 2020
ARTNOW FNQ 2015
27 Nov 2015 – 17 Feb 2016
The Cairns Art Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past and present. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, names or voices of deceased persons in photographs, film or text.