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Rover (Julama) Thomas

Two Ceremony Men - 1996

natural earth pigment on canvas
76.0 x 122.0 cm
Price Realised: $14,640.00

MP #360


Neil McLeod Fine Art Studio, Vic
Kintolai Gallery, SA Cat No. KG-RT-96-733
Private Collection, NSW

Acclaimed as a cultural leader and the seminal figure in establishing the East Kimberley School, Rover Thomas was actually born hundreds of kilometers to the south of Gidja country, on the fringes of the Western Desert. So remote was his birthplace that, had he not spent a lifetime of travel and finally settled in the north, he would most likely painted with closer aesthetic ties to the Pintupi painters of Kintore and Kiwirrkurra. The subject of this painting refers to ancestors of the Western Desert peoples whose influence spread into the Kimberley with the migrations of desert peoples to the area.


These two spirit ancestors traversed the land and created sacred sites while giving people the law and culture. Their law continues to inform the initiations of young men to this day. The profound secret/sacred nature of their teachings belong to the esoteric realm of men's law and are not discussed in public.

In this painting minimal forms are juxtaposed and framed by the dot work along the edges. They appear as if we are looking at a painting within a painting. The Rothko-esque surface imbues this landscape with a sense of spirituality and sacredness; like seeing deeper into a place beyond words, as befits the sanctity of the ancestors themselves.