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Rover (Julama) Thomas

Warmun - Map of Turkey Creek Community - c.1983

natural earth pigments on veneer
102 x 121 cm
Price Realised: $26,840.00

MP #654


Painted at Warmun, Turkey Creek, WA and acquired directly from the artist in c.1983
Fireworks Gallery, Qld Cat No. FW15657
Private Collection, NSW


Cf. For related works see:
Bedford Downs, 1984, in the Holmes à Court Collection, illus. in Carrigan, B, Rover Thomas: I Want to Paint, Holmes à Court Gallery, Perth, 2003, cat. 9.

Ngamarrin (The Snake near Turkey Creek Country), 1984, and Pilpirrji (Argyle Hill), 1984, in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, illus. in Thomas, R, et al, Roads Cross: The Paintingss of Rover Thomas, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 1994, pp 38 and 18

Untitled, 1984, in the collection of the Berndt Museum illus. in Stanton, J. E, Paintings the Country: Contemporary Aboriginal Art from the Kimberley Region, Western Australia, The University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands, 1989, p. 38, pl. 34.

102 x 121 cm
106 x 125 cm (frame)

Rover Thomas was born in Walmatjarri-Kukaja country near Well 33 on the Canning Stock Route. He lived a traditional bush life until he was taken to Billiluna Station at 11 years of age, where he was initiated after his mother's death.

Rover subsequently spent a lifetime travelling the stock routes of Australia’s far-north. After working for a period as a jackeroo on the Canning Stock Route, he became a fencing contractor in Wyndham and later worked as a stockman in the Northern Territory and the fringes of the Gibson and Great Sandy Deserts, including Bow River Station and later Texas Downs, Old Lissadell and Mabel Downs. He finally settled in nearby Turkey Creek, where he became an artist in the late 1970s at 50 years of age. In time, he was acclaimed as a cultural leader and the seminal figure in establishing the East Kimberley painting movement.

This work is likely to have been painted in 1983-1984, early in Rover Thomas' public painting career. That year he created a number of planar, map-like paintings, referring to sites and pathways of ancestral or historical significance and his own travels during his days as a drover on cattle stations in the region.