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Phyllis Thomas / Gemerre Tribal Law (PT010)

SKU: PT010

100cm x 100cm Ochre on Canvas, 2006

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Original price was: $3,800.00.Current price is: $2,500.00.

100cm x 100cm Ochre on Canvas, 2006

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How Artworks Are Sent

Ochre / Kimberley artworks are shipped on canvas or linen, already stretched, ready to hang unless stated otherwise.

Acrylic artworks are shipped on canvas or linen un-stretched, rolled up in a cardboard tube unless stated otherwise.

These artworks will need to be stretched on a stretcher board before hanging.

This can be done by nearly any picture framer (highly recommended) or you can DIY if you’re confident in your handiwork.

There are numerous "how to" videos on YouTube showing you how to achieve this.

Artist Profile

c. 1938 – 2018 

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 Gija 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 was an established Senior Kimberley Ochre Artist who painted and exhibited with the highest profile Ochre Artists of the East Kimberley, and with her art centre at Warmun. Her works are traditional, she was a respected Law Woman in the Region and depicted her country and the Dreaming Stories in natural ochre medium.

Phyllis passed away peacefully in late 2018. She was a strong leader, an incredible artist and a wonderful lady, who will be sorely missed by all that knew her.

• Artbank
• Art Gallery Of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
• Art Gallery Of Western Australia, Perth, WA
• Art Gallery Of Queensland, QLD
• Broadmeadows Public Hospital Collection, Melbourne, VIC
• Chartell Collection, NZ
• Commonwealth Institute Collection, London, UK
• Edith Cowan University Art Collection, Perth, WA
• Flinders University Art Museum, Saharland Collection, NSW
• Harvey Wagner Collection, USA
• Kaplan Collection, USA
• Kerry Stokes Collection
• Laverty Collection, Sydney, NSW
• Museum & Art Gallery of Northern Territory, NT
• Northern Territory University Collection, Darwin, NT
• National Australia Bank


• 2021 Gemerre and Purnululu – Olsen Annexe, Sydney, NSW
• 2021 TarraWarra Biennial 2021: Slow Moving Waters – TarraWarra Museum of Art, VIC
• 2020 Whenua Ukaipo / United Nations 75 – Public Trust Hall, Te Whanganui-a-tara Wellington
• 2020 Nga Iwi Moemoea – Tim Melville Gallery, Auckland, NZ
• 2020 Robert & Janice Hunter Collection – Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, NSW
• 2020 The Ochre Story – Japingka Aboriginal Art, Fremantle, WA
• 2020 Badem Mawoondool – Red Ochre, White Ochre – Aboriginal Contemporary, Sydney
• 2020 Matriarchs 2020 – Paul Johnstone Gallery, Darwin
• 2019 The Escape – RAFT Artspace, Darwin
• 2019 “Connection to Country” Fundraiser Exhibition, Form Gallery, Perth WA
• 2019 Desert River Sea, Art Gallery of Western Australia – A Landmark Exhibition of Kimberley Aboriginal Art
• 2019 Beyond the surface of the Dreaming – Warmun & Jirrawun – Aboriginal Signature Estrangin Gallery, Brussells
• 2018 Phyllis Thomas Solo Exhibition – Koskela Gallery, Sydney NSW
• 2018 Jooroob “Coming Together” Exhibition – Warmun Art and Jirrawun Artworks
• 2018 Moon Dreaming & Other Stories – Tim Melville Gallery, Auckland, NZ
• 2018 Peggy Patrick and Phyllis Thomas: Works from the Jirrawun Studio – RAFT
• 2018 Artspace Dream Time Mine – FORM Gallery Perth, curated by Kate Alida Mullen
• 2018 Wynne Prize Finalist, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
• 2017 Spiritual essence of the Earth with Warmun artists – Aboriginal Signature Estrangin gallery, Brussels
• 2017 For the Women – Tandanya, Adelaide
• 2016 Telling Tales: Excursions in narrative form – Museum of Contemporary Art
• 2015 Garnkiny: Constellations of Meaning – Short Street Gallery, Broome, WA
• 2014 Garnkiny: Constellations of Meaning – Melbourne, VIC
• 2014 Warmun: Gija Contemporary Art of Western Australia – Harvey Art Projects, USA
• 2013 Nagarra & Naangari – Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne, VIC
• 2012 Earth: Ochre Painting from Warmun – Tim Melville Gallery, Auckland, NZ
• 2011 Where Knowledge Comes From – Gadfly Gallery, Perth, WA
• 2010 Ochres of the Kimberley – Tunbridge Gallery, Margaret River, WA
• 2010 Surface of Our Dreaming – Paintings by Gija Women – Chapman Gallery, Canberra, ACT
• 2010 Warmun – Our Earth Our Story – Art Images Gallery, Norwood, SA
• 2010 Putipula Gallery – Noosa, QLD
• 2010 Big Country – Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT
• 2009 Warmun Ochres: Rich Earth – Gadfly Gallery, Perth, WA
• 2007 Dog Dreamings – Seva Frangos Art, Perth, WA
• 2006 Bungle Bungles, Short St. Gallery, Broome, WA
• 2006 Warmun Arts – Hogarth Galleries, Sydney, WA
• 2005 Gija: Across The Border, Raft Artspace, Darwin, NT
• 2005 Warmun Group Show, Framed Gallery, Darwin, NT
• 2005 Waterhole Country, Short St. Gallery, Broome, WA
• 2005 New Work From Warmun, Gadfly Gallery, Perth, WA
• 2004 Big Country Show, Gallery Gondwana, Alice Springs, NT
• 2002 Warmun Group Show, Flinders University Art Museum, SA
• 2001 Beyond Wings, Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide, SA
• 2001 Ochres, Short St Gallery, Broome, WA
• 2001 New Paintings from Warmun Art Centre, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane, QLD
• 2000 The Seventeenth National Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Art Award Exhibition – Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Darwin, NT
• 1999 My Country – Northern Territory University, Darwin, NT
• 1999 New art from the Kimberley – William Mora Galleries, Melbourne, VIC
• 1998 Jirrawun Artists – William Mora Galleries, Melbourne, VIC
• 1998 Jirrawun Artists from Crocodile Hole – Gemma Stowe, Perth, WA

Artwork Description

Phyllis has executed the body paint design that is used in Women’s Ceremony in the East Kimberley. The Senior women paint this design in ochre on the top half of their bodies for dancing, cultural meetings and ceremonies. Phyllis is a Kitja Elder and as such has for many many years painted women and young girls’ bodies with her hands for dance and culture and now proudly transposes that technique to canvas.

She gave no reason for painting this theme and 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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Phyllis Thomas / Gemerre Tribal Law (PT010)

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Gail Walls

Amazing. .wonderful paintings…love the stories told with each..beautiful works by all..look forward each day to see what is next to come…a big thank you to all for your beautiful pieces

Alli Lou

If there was an option to, I’d give a 100 star rating

Gheorghe Taralunga – Craiova


Katherine Chandler Ferguson – Fitzroy Crossing

I’ve not been able to visit for a while but love the work here! I think I’m due a trip with the boys soon!

Greg Ambrose-Pearce – Darwin

Seamless purchase great people to deal with would love to buy more!

Sue Candy

Just exquisite work, the detail, the colour and the stories. I’m in love with Artlandish Art!

Raye Stratford

Loving how Kirstie finds brilliant artists and shares not only the artwork, but the back story of both the piece AND the artist. You can tell she absolutely loves Aboriginal art, and she has such great rapport with the artists.

Mark Carroll – London

Best place to buy genuine, quality art from. On my 10th purchase and counting.

Hayley Beaver – London

Beautiful art work….. Love it!

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