karen lee
Karen Lee Mungarrja

First Nations artist, a Wiradjuri woman residing in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

@karen_lee_artist

Born in Darlinghurst, Sydney, Karen is connected to Wiradjuri Country "the land of the three rivers" and the Tubba-gah people around the Dubbo area.

She is an emerging artist whose work is influenced aesthetically by her local environment - the Blue Mountains and Nepean River in New South Wales and its surroundings. She is particularly interested in both the colour and patterns found in nature, and in the telling of stories. Karen’s artworks incorporate elements of Aboriginal symbols and she is fascinated with historical remnants, scars and unseen traces left in spaces.

My aim is to create artworks that are vibrant, have an aesthetic beauty while underpinned with ambiguous meaning and stories of the past.

Karen
RECENT COLLAB WITH WITH LIFE APPAREL FOR NAIDOC 2022
● ARTWORK FOR NAIDOC 2022 ●
MADHU - TO BE TOGETHER

Acrylic on canvas
2022

Aboriginal people were forced to suppress cultural traditions since colonisation that lead to the loss of important customs such as dreaming stories, songlines and language.

Madhu depicts a story about our Elders passing knowledge to our communities, men, women and children to rebuild and revive our culture. Using the rainbow as a symbol of hope.

If we stand together, we can make change for future generations to come!

WARATAH

Acrylic on canvas
2020

"I love native Australian flowers, which for me perhaps subconsciously is a symbol of strength, and serves as an inspiration to me when overcoming hurdles in my life.

The Aboriginal name of the Waratah from the Eora people means 'red flowering tree'. Aboriginal peoples sip the dew from Waratah flowers, which was believed to bring courage to the sick. It was also sometimes infused in water and drank as a sweet treat. It is a flower that features in many varying Dreamtime stories.

Wattle trees in flower are tied to a string of memories for me, a reminder of my youth, when they came into bloom and their aroma filled the air. I have fond memories of walking through bush, touching the soft fluffy Wattle flowers."

- DISCONTINUED -
BUSH BERRIES #1

Acrylic on canvas
2020

The bush berry/bush tucker symbol is used in traditional Aboriginal art to map where food sources can be found. Karen uses this symbol in its traditional sense, although in her modern take on the imagery she repeats the symbol and paints it as a pattern, filling the canvas with the elements as though looking down on them from above.

She uses these elements to tell an underlying story of dispossession, the disconnection between culture and Aboriginal people, in a time where stories and traditions have been partially lost.

- DISCONTINUED -
BUSH BERRIES #2

Acrylic on canvas
2020

The bush berry/bush tucker symbol is used in traditional Aboriginal art to map where food sources can be found. Karen uses this symbol in its traditional sense, although in her modern take on the imagery she repeats the symbol and paints it as a pattern, filling the canvas with the elements as though looking down on them from above.

She uses these elements to tell an underlying story of dispossession, the disconnection between culture and Aboriginal people, in a time where stories and traditions have been partially lost.

Life Apparel Co is an advocate and a proud member of the Indigenous Art Code since 2017.
The Indigenous Art Code is a system to preserve and promote ethical trading in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island art. As an Australian non-Indigenous owned business, we share the responsibility to raise standards in this field and be an example on how to conduct business. 

The Code oversees dealings and supports the rights of Indigenous Artists to negotiate fair terms for their work and gives you, the customer greater certainty about an artwork’s origin.