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Phyllis Thomas / Gemerre Tribal Law (1A)

76cm x 60cm Ochre on Canvas, 2006

SKU: 14659

$990.00

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SKU: 14659 Category:

Phyllis was born at Turner River (Kartang Rija) and grew up in the beautiful Purnululu region in the East Kimberley, which is now World Heritage listed.  Her mother was Kitja skin and her father Jaru (desert-way).  Phyllis worked around the station, doing yard duties and assisting with the domestic animals.  Whilst in Wyndham, she met her husband, Joe Thomas, a stockman.  She accompanied him to Springvale, then Mabel Downs Stations.  Joe worked at Bow River Station alongside the late Timmy Timms for Sam and Maggie Lilly, and much later when the Government granted the station to the Timms Family, Joe was granted an excision, and developed Rugan Community (Crocodile Hole).

Joe was instrumental in setting up a school on his Community, and Phyllis taught the children culture – carving, painting and dancing.  Eventually the school was closed and the children attended the larger school at nearby Warmun Community.

Phyllis is a highly collectable First Generation Ochre Artist whose works are held in the very best Private and Corporate Collections, including Parliament House. She is an established Senior Kimberley Ochre Artist, paints and exhibits with the highest profile Ochre Artists of the East Kimberley, and with her art centre at Warmun. Her works are traditional, she is a respected Law Woman in the Region and depicts her country and the Dreaming Stories in natural ochre medium.

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2006
– Womens Business, Sherman Galleries, Sydney
– East Kimberley Exhibition, Japingka Gallery, Perth

2005
– New Work from Warmun, Gadfly Gallery, Perth

2004
– A Selection of Contemporary Art, Martin Browne Fine Art, Sydney. Other artists featured included Emily Kngwarreye and Paddy Bedford

2002/03
– Blood on the Spinifex, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne

2000
– 17th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, Museum and Art Gallery of the NT

SELECTED COLLECTIONS
– Parliament House Collection, Canberra
– Art Gallery of Western Australia
– Private and corporate collections throughout Australia and Overseas

Phyllis has painted a theme which is a statement of her standing as a respected Elder. She has painted the significant lines of the tribal marks which appear on Aboriginal people’s bodies throughout Australia. She gave no reason for painting this theme and of course no explanation as to their meaning as this is kept between Senior Tribal members only. It can be assumed that the paint running down from the top of the artwork is the blood spilt when the skin is cut mixed in with the white ochre that is used during ceremony.

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