Important Aboriginal Works of Art
25 May 2016


(c.1926 – 1998)

natural earth pigments and bush gum on canvas

61.0 x 76.5 cm

$30,000 – 40,000
Sold for $48,800 (inc. BP) in Auction 43 - 25 May 2016, Melbourne

Painted in the East Kimberly for Waringarri Arts
Joel Smoker, Western Australia
Private collection, Sydney
Sotheby’s, Melbourne, 9 July 2001, lot 138
Private collection, Sydney

Catalogue text

This painting was commissioned in 1988 by Joel Smoker, a former coordinator of the Waringarri Arts Centre in Kununurra from 1986 – 1991, as one of five works for a special gift card series which was never produced.

The subject matter for this painting is most likely the Wati Kutjara, the story of the ancestral travels of two men, ubiquitous in the mythology of the Western Desert. A prominent story related to the Tingari ancestors who, in mythological times, moved across the land creating sacred sites and giving people law and culture and whose influence spread from the central to the western deserts and into the Kimberley. The Wati Kutjara story has connections to Rover Thomas’ place of birth at Kunawarritji (Well 33) on the Canning Stock Route in the Tanami Desert and is the subject of a number of Thomas' paintings.