The exploits of the Kenniff Brothers have long fascinated artist and writer, Karen Knight-Mudie, and now the latest instalment of her musings is about to be revealed in the gallery close to where it all took place.
Sparked by an interest in folklore, Karen began tracking the 1880s exploits of the bushranging brothers, sharing her visual images on giant, strong brown paper banners to produce the remarkable historical exhibition, Moonlighting in Moffatt.
According to Injune Creek Gallery representative, Debbie Duff, Karen paints ‘stories’ of the Australian landscape with the earth, rocks and water assuming the main characters, while the people and places are evoked through references and allusions.
“The lore of the land whispers though layer upon layer of watercolour as a site for legends to be born, and, at the beginning of this series, the story of Pat and Jimmy Kenniff trickled into the Moffatt images until it became the torrent.”
The exhibition first came to the Maranoa, in the Injune Information Centre and the Mitchell Art Gallery in 1997, creating controversy once again as to whether Paddy committed the murders of policemen George Doyle and Albert Dahlke, and deserved to be hanged for the crime.
Showing the importance of the legend to the region, Injune Tourism marked the grave of James Kenniff located on George Webb’s block, The Overflow, in 2002, before it was lost to the erosions of time.
In 1903 Patrick Kenniff was the last man executed by hanging in the Boggo Road Jail, while Jimmy Kenniff was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour.
He was released in 1914 and died in 1940. He is buried in the Charters Towers cemetery.
Moonlighting in Moffatt was the product of many field trips, many meetings, and much research that opened new directions for the images to move beyond the land, across the creek beds and campsites, to the court records, and now into a new chapter of images, titled Reflections of Paddy and Jim.
The complete exhibition has been split into two parts due to its size, and it’s part two, consisting of many new images, that is set to open at the Injune Creek Gallery on Friday, January 19.
The following day, Saturday, January 20, will see the original exhibition open at the Mitchell on Maranoa Gallery, at 1pm.
As a bonus, Karen’s original research diary will be on display. From its pages, viewers will be able to see how Karen has woven her process of tracking the Kenniff brothers into a book that will accompany the exhibitions.
Signed copies of Moonlighting in Moffatt: Tracking the Kenniff Brothers, will be available for purchase at each exhibition venue, and all framed watercolours will be available for purchase.
Both parts of the exhibition will be on display in the respective towns until March 24, when they will travel to Roma to be opened at Roma on Bungil Gallery on Friday, March 30 at 10am, remaining on display until May 11.
“Come along and view this magnificent collection of extremely rare images in your local gallery,” Debbie said. “You won’t be disappointed.”