Country: Daly River, Northern Territory
Kerry Madawyn McCarthy was born at Daly River in August 1975, the daughter of an indigenous mother and an Irish father. Her sister Kelen Tyalmuty McCarthy is also a very well know artist. Kerry was raised in Daly River when she learned the ways of both non-indigenous communities as well as deep respect and understanding of the indigenous traditions of the bush.
Kerry remembers beginning to paint seriously at about six or seven years old. Her Dad used to set the kids up every Sunday on the back veranda with big blocks of butcher paper and big bottles of paint. Kerry says: “We would just paint to our heart's content, but my professional painting began around 1994”.
She began with the familiar stories and symbols before stretching herself artistically into trying different techniques and textures. This led her to a 12-month certificate course in arts and crafts at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education. It was this time that Kerry credits with helping her find new ways of express herself through her work.
Inspired by ancestors, land and country, Kerry says: “My stories are not only my stories, they are stories about my grandfather. There are stories about going out on land and on country. Because of the impact that my grandfather has had on my life, I feel like it is so important that I not only tell my parts of them but I also tell his parts of them. He was just such a good man and that's just something that I want to be able to get out there and tell the world about”.