When Queenie Saved Rover, 1995

53 Queenie Mckenzie Nakarra (c1930 – 1998)
When Queenie Saved Rover, 1995
natural earth pigments and synthetic binder on canvas
40.5 x 60.0 cm
inscribed verso: artist’s name, size,Waringarri Arts cat. AP0647 and S-708
Sold for $12,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 15 - 21 July 2010, Melbourne

Provenance

Waringarri Aboriginal Arts, Kununurra
The Collection of William and Lucy Mora, Melbourne

This painting tells the story of how the artist saved Rover Thomas when he was a young man. In their younger years the artist and Rover both worked in stock camps on Texas Downs Station near Turkey Creek, Western Australia. One day at a mustering camp Rover was thrown by a horse which stepped on his head, tearing his scalp off back to his ears. There was no doctor or nurse for hundreds of kilometers so the artist took Rover back to camp at Spring Creek Yard, boiled a needle to sterilise it, and sewed his scalp back on. When Rover was taken to the hospital, the doctors examined the wound and said that Queenie’s stitching was so good that it was not necessary to re-stitch it. Rover recovered and, like Queenie McKenzie, later became one of the best known Aboriginal artists in Australia.

The image shows the mustering camp in Texas Downs country with Rover lying down with a bandage on his head. The cross shape to the left of him is a fire and there is a table and several patch saddles across the creek. The camp is surrounded by trees. The main road through the country is shown as a tan coloured line dissecting the centre of the painting from the bottom to top.