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Billy Joongarra Thomas

Untitled (Waarla) - 2005

natural earth pigments on canvas
60.0 x 45.0 cm
Price Realised: $1,610.00

MP #101


Red Rock Art, WA Cat No. 0501/KP1178
Thornquest Gallery, Qld Cat No. TG/99
Private Collection SA


Tineriba Art Gallery, SA Dec 2017

Billy Thomas began paintings on canvas in 1995 after he approached Waringarri Arts in Kununurra to supply him with paintings materials. Prior to that, he did not belong to any community of artists. He knew his country intimately and never ceased his ceremonial immersion and involvement within it. Right up until his final years, he continued to spend long periods ‘out bush’ before returning to Billiluna or Kununurra to paint. He was revered as a senior lawman and healer, custodian of secret initiation rites and ceremonial songlines.


Invariably his works are about ceremony; the formations of people in ritual, the body paintings designs and the ground patterns, associated with various ceremonies.

Waarla is a huge mudflat in the Great Sandy Desert that becomes a vast lake after rain. It is a historic meeting place where diverse desert rites are maintained and taught to young initiates.