Artwork is accompanied by Warlukurlangu Artists (Yuendumu) Art Centre Certificate of Authenticity/Provenance
Johnny Japaljarri Brown-Possum was born near Willowra community in approximately 1940. His traditional country is Patirlirri (Rabbit Bore) which is to the far west of Willowra. Johnny is the half brother of the late highly acclaimed Aboriginal artist Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. Johnny is a senior Warlpiri tribal elder and is highly respected.
Growing up in the bush, he worked for many years as a stockman on local cattle stations. He began painting in 1982 whilst working as a janitor at the local community school. He began to teach the children about their Dreamings. From here, he must have relished the opportunity to teach people because his life has been dedicated to teaching, performing and painting. He first began painting on artist board, boomerangs and shields and then moved to canvas.
Johnny is also the co-founder, alongside Ted Egan, of the “Jangampa” Dance and Theatre Group. The Jangampa dancers are a troupe of Warlpiri and Anmatyerre singers, dancers, painters and film actors who perform their traditional dances. They have appeared in many films including Kings in Grass Castles, Rabbit Proof Fence and The Tracker. They have also been invited to perform all around Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Korea and Norway.
In 2004 Johnny was involved in the CAAMA media production of “Boomerang Today”, a short documentary featuring four senior traditional elders from Yuelamu who talk about how they were taught to craft the number 7 boomerang (a hunting boomerang) with only natural bush materials. They are now teaching younger generations the same skills, although with some modern tools. These elders are keeping their traditional law and culture strong.