Short Street Gallery, WA
Coo-ee Art Gallery, NSW
Daniel Walbidi grew up listening to the songs and stories of his elders and, encouraged by his high-school art teacher, revealed a natural talent for their visual rendition. He was just 17 years old when he approached Broome gallery owner Emily Rohr with the idea of starting a painting group in 1999. He recognized the need to paint, not only in himself but also amongst his elders, who carried compelling memories of traditional knowledge and the loss of their desert homelands. Severe drought and encroaching mining and grazing developments during the 1960s had pushed the Yulparija people coastwards. Along with several other desert tribes, they found refuge at Le Grange Mission and settled amongst the Karajarri, the saltwater estuary dwellers at Bidyadanga. Sell-out shows resulted in Melbourne and Sydney, with some of the seventy and eighty-year-old leading Bidyadanga artists referring to the determined Walbidi as ‘young-boss’. Many of the elder artists have now passed on and Daniel Walbidi, now 49 years of age, is one of Aboriginal art’s most successful living artists.
This painting depicts the warla (salt lake) and tali (sand dunes) of the Great Sandy Desert around the Percival Lakes in Western Australia. This country is Daniel’s traditional land, where his father was born.Share