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Rover (Julama) Thomas

Rainbow Jowie - Lake Billiluna - 1995

natural earth pigments on Belgian linen
205.0 x 101.0 cm
Price Realised: $32,000.00

LOT #35


Neil McLeod Fine Arts Studio, Vic Cat no. KA116.
Private Collection, Vic


Sold with original source documentation and photo of the artist creating the work

Rover Thomas lived a traditional bush life with his family at Well 33 until he moved, at 10 years of age, with his family to Billiluna Station, where he was initiated, after his mother's death. 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, where he was married for the first time, and later at Texas Downs, Old Lissadell and Mabel Downs, adjacent to the Warmun community at Turkey Creek, where he settled in his later years. 


In this work Rover depicts Lake Billiluna (red oxide) located in the Western Desert near Gordon Downs (Kundart Djaru) close to the border of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The Lake is a breeding ground for budgerigars and a significant site being the home of the Billiluna Rainbow Jowie. At this site a mythical dog (dingo) killed emus. They had a big fight and the emus now lie in the middle of the lake having left behind sacred objects on their travels. In relating this story the artist indicated that the Jowie (Rainbow Serpent) lived in the lake in the area to the extreme right of the paining. He travels only in the absence of strong wind, to avoid being blown away thereby losing his home in the bottom of the lake. The black areas around the lake represent hills. The Jowie originally gave all the languages and site names for this region. All wind and rain emanates from and is connected to the Jowie. This important work was commissioned from the artist and painted during his trip to Melbourne in 1995.