Cory Surprise was born in 1929 in the Fitzroy Crossing region of the Kimberley, NT.
'I first started painting at Karrayili Adult Education Centre in the early eighties. We told our stories through painting and learned to speak to kartiya [European person]. I also did painting at Bayulu community near Fitzroy Crossing. That’s how I told my story to kartiya. We worked on paper then, not canvas or board.'
'When I paint, I think about my country. I paint from here [head] and here [breasts, collarbone and shoulder blades a reference to body painting]. I think about my people, the old people and what they told me and Jumangkarni [Dreamtime]. When I paint I am thinking about law from a long time ago. Nobody taught me how to paint, I put down my own ideas. I saw these places for myself, I went there with the old people. I paint jilji [sandhills], jumu [soak water], jila [permanent waterhole], jiwari [rock hole], pamarr [hills and rock country], I think about mangarri [vegetable food] and kuyu [game] from my country and when I was there."
Wakartu Cory Surprise'
Aboriginal Art Museum, The Netherlands.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
Charles Darwin University Collection, Darwin.
HBL Collection, Melbourne.
Laverty Collection, Sydney.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
2007 - Wakartu Cory Surprise at Silvershot Gallery, Raft Artspace in Melbourne
2006 - New works by Wakartu Cory Surprise, Raft Artspace, Darwin.
2006 - Wakartu Cory Surprise, by Raft Artspace & Mangkaja Arts at Silvershot gallery Melbourne.
2005 - Cory and Friends, Red Dot Gallery, Singapore.
2004 - Wakartu Cory Surprise, Boutwell Draper Gallery, Sydney.
2015 - Indigenous Art: Moving Backwards into the Future, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
2013 - My Country, I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art from Black Australia, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane.
2012 - Mangkaja - works on paper, Short Street Gallery, Broome, WA.
2010 - Yiwarra Kuju, Canning Stock Route Exhibition, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, ACT
2010 - Four Desert Women, Short St Gallery, Broome, WA
2009 - : Mangkaja Artists 60x60 Randell Lane Fine Art, WA.
2009 - : Sharing Difference on Common Ground Holmes a Court Gallery, Perth, WA.
2009 - : 26th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory, Darwin.
2009 - : Wakartu Cory Surprise Alison Kelly Gallery, Melbourne.
2009 - : Celebrating Country: Kinship and Culture Seymour College, Glen Osmond, SA.
2009 - : Shalom Gamarada Caspary Conference Centre, University of NSW, Sydney.
2009 - : Western Australian Indigenous Art Award Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, WA.
2009 - Sitting Down with Sitting down with Jukuja & Wakartu Raft Art Space, Darwin, NT.
2009 - : Senior Artists from Fitzroy Crossing, Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, Brisbane.
2008 - The Other Thing: a survey show Charles Darwin University Art Collection, NT
2008 - Mangkaja Arts A P Bond Art Dealer, Adelaide, SA
2008 - Marnintu Maparnana, Women Painting , ReDot Gallery, Singapore
2008 - The Canning Stock Route Project Beijing International Olympic Committee Expo, China
2008 - Shalom Gamarad Caspary Conference Centre, University of NSW, Sydney
2008 - Mangkaja Artists WA Randell Lane Fine Art, Perth, WA
2008 - 25th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres StraitIslander Art Award Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory, Darwin
2008 - Divas of the Desert Gallery Gondwana, Sydney, NSW
2008 - Waterholes and Bush Tucker Bridget McDonnell Hampton Gallery, Melbourne
2008 - Women On Country Suzanne O’Connell Gallery, Brisbane
2008 - Bendi Lango The Indigenous Scholarship Fund, Sydney and Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane.
2007 - Women Artists of Fitzroy Crossing Raft Artspace Darwin.
2006 - Mona Chugana and Cory Surprise Short St Gallery, Broome; Depth and Divergence, Cullity Gallery, UWA. Perth.
2005 - Cory and Friends Red Dot Gallery, Singapore; Too much good work Raft Artspace, Darwin NT; Mangkaja Group Show Raft Artspace, Darwin NT; Colourfields Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT; Too much good work, Raft Artspace, Darwin.
2004 - This is Still My Country, Artplace, Perth 10 years on Perth International Arts Festival; Ngurrara Canvas Perth Concert Hall, Perth International Arts Festival; Wakartu Cory Surprise & Widjee Henry Short Street Gallery, Broome; Over the Top, Frementle Art Centre, Perth;
2003 - Mangkaja Women Raft Artspace, Darwin; Jila, Jumu, Jiwari and Wirrkuja University of Western Australia; Fitzroy Fusions Raft Artspace, Darwin.
2002 - Group Show Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne.
2001 - Ngurrara Canvas National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT; Mangkaja Arts Ten Years On Mangkaja’s 10 year Anniversary Show Tandanya, Adelaide.
1995 - The Twelfth National Aboriginal Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.
1994 - Yiribana Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
1993 - Mangkaja Artists, Hogarth Galleries, NSW; Australian Heritage Commission National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award Exhibition, Old Parliament House, Canberra.; Images of Power, Aboriginal Art of the Kimberley, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
1992 - Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne; Broome Fringe Festival, Broome.
1991 - Karrayili: Ten years on, Tandanya SA ; Aboriginal Women's Exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney;
2010 - winner of the $50,000 Western Australian Indigenous Art Award.
2009 - winner of the $10,000 Western Australian Indigenous Artist Award.
1997 - winner of the Telstra Work on Paper Award, Telstra Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, NT.
Heathcote, Christopher, 'Great tribal masters', The Age, 3 March 1993, p. 14; Ryan, J., 1993, Images of Power, Aboriginal Art of the Kimberley, exhib, cat., National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. ; Karrayili exhib. cat. Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, 1991. ; Neale, M., 1994, Yiribana, exhib. cat., Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. (C) ; 1991, Aboriginal Women's Exhibition, exhib. cat., Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.