“Untitled Landscape”, by Bella Kelly
“Artist, Mother, Storyteller, Elder, Aboriginal, Original” is how Bella Kelly (1915 - 1994) is described in the stunning mural by artist Anat Ronen on the wall of the Mount Barker Post Office. Bella Kelly is well known as the matriarch of Noongar art. Born in Mt Barker, Bella Kelly lived in many towns throughout the Great Southern. During her life she experienced immense challenges. Her two sets of four children, born in the 1930s and 1950s were both taken away from her. Throughout all this, Bella painted her country, the Great Southern, with the Stirling Ranges in the background. She sold her paintings to earn money, and her paintings are found in many public and private collections in Western Australia. This acrylic painting is a classic depiction of the country that Kelly loved. The dark profile of the Stirling Ranges provides a horizon against which the tall straight tree trunks stretch upwards. Kangaroos are caught in the early dawn light, in front of fence posts which retreat into the view.