The ReDot gallery is proud to take you on another journey of discovery into Aboriginal art as it brings to Singapore for the first time ever the very special artwork from the Warmun Community. Each canvas is unique; rather than acrylic paints, traditional ochre and natural pigments, hand collected in the Kimberley area, are used. Artists are adept at making their own paints and mixing ochres into a full range of colours.
The work draws on traditional Ngarrangkarni (Dreaming) stories as well as contemporary events and artists’ life experiences. By using locally sourced natural pigments and gums, their paintings are imbued with the very essence of the land these artists depict. Warmun Community is located at Warmun (Turkey Creek) in the East Kimberley between Halls Creek and Kununurra in the far Northeast of Western Australia. It was there in 1975 that Rover Thomas and Paddy Jaminji began the artistic collaboration that was to become the model for contemporary Kimberley ochre painting. Indeed, a ceremony was revealed to Rover Thomas through a series of dreams or visions of a spirit’s journey after death.
This Dreaming formed the basis of the Gurirr Gurirr (Kril Kril) ceremony and, to complement specific verses of the Gurirr Gurirr song cycle, first performed in Warmun in the late 1970s, pieces of plywood were painted with ochre and carried on the shoulders of participants. Thomas and Jaminji painted many of these works on board. Rover Thomas and other leading indigenous artist Queenie McKenzie passed on many of the traditional stories and painting techniques. They were also a source of inspiration to many artists and ReDot is therefore very privileged to bring to Singapore internationally renowned ochre painters Patrick Mung Mung, Mabel Juli, Shirley Purdie, Madigan Thomas, Churchill Cann and Betty Carrington as well as emerging artists Marika Mung, Marika Patrick, Jane Yalunga and Roseleen Park, to name a few. Mabel Juli, Madigan Thomas and other senior women artist used to watch Rover Thomas paint and one day he said to them, ’You try yourself, you might make good painting yourself.’ Madigan Thomas began painting in the mid 1980s and was one of the first artists to attempt to mix natural ochre and pigments to create a wider range of colours for artists to access, in particular, greens, pinks, blues and greys. Thomas’s daughter, Shirley Purdie, is also a well known artist who has recently been awarded twice for her work. Last August she won the 56th Blake Prize for Religious Art and just last month was announced the winner of the Needham Religious Art Prize. Patrick Mung Mung is a very important member of the Warmun community.
Through his painting, his knowledge of his country and his cultural memory of family, land and work are powerfully related. The Warmun Art Centre was established in 1998 by leading artists of the Warmun (Turkey Creek) community. The Centre is wholly owned and managed by the Warmun artist group, and 100% of income from sales is returned back to the community. Joining the show will be Jacqueline Coyle-Taylor, Business Manager, and artists Mabel Juli and Marika Patrick to give us further insight into the works, life and history of Warmun. Proudly supported by the Australian High Commission as part of NAIDOC week - Australia’s annual celebration of indigenous culture and of the indigenous contribution to modern Australia.