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Billy Joongarra Thomas

Waarla - 2000

natural earth pigment on linen
100.0 x 80.0 cm
EST. $7,000 - $9,000

MP #297


Provenance

Red Rock Arts, WA Cat No. 09/00
Walker Lane Gallery, WA Cat No. KP1062
Private Collection, WA

Billy Thomas began painting on canvas in 1995 after he approached Waringarri Arts in Kununurra to supply him with painting 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 painting 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 an historic meeting place where diverse desert rites are maintained and taught to young initiates.