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Rover (Julama) Thomas

Canning Stock Route - c.1984

natural earth pigments on composition board
121.0 x 60.0 cm
Price Realised: $78,080.00

MP #748


Field Collected in Turkey Creek, c.1986
Kimberley Art, Vic Cat. No. K13
Aboriginal Gallery of Dreamings, Vic
Ebes Collection, Vic


Nangara: The Australian Aboriginal Art Exhibition from the Ebes Collection, Stichting Sint-jan, Brugge, Belgium, 1996
The Australian Aboriginal Art Exhibition, Hokkaido Asahikawa Museum of Art, Asahikawa, Japan; Tochigi Prefectual Museum of Fine Arts, Utsunomiya, Japan; Iwaki City Art Museum, Iwaki, Japan, 2001; Shimonoseki Prefectural Art Museum, Japan, 2001
Dreamtime - Aboriginal Art from the Ebes Collection, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishoj, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2006. (10th Anniversary Exhibition)


Hank Ebes (ed.), Nangara: The Australian Aboriginal Art Exhibition from the Ebes Collection, Melbourne: The Aboriginal Gallery of Dreamings, 1996, Cat. No.105
Hank Ebes (ed.), The Australian Aboriginal Art Exhibition, Japan: The Yomiuri Shimbun, 2001, page 51.

Artwork Size: 121 x 60 cm

Frame Size: 134 x 74 cm

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 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.