Artists painting at Warmun Art Centre (WAC) often use earth pigments from surrounding Kimberley country to share traditional and contemporary Ngarrangkarni (Dreaming) stories. Established in 1998, WAC is located in the original Turkey Creek Post Office on the ‘other side’ of Warmun (Turkey Creek) community in East Kimberley.
Home to leading Indigenous artists Rover Thomas, Queenie McKenzie, Paddy Jaminji, Jack Britten and Hector Jandany – all of whom have passed on traditional stories and painting techniques – WAC continues to grow. A new architect-designed gallery space opened in 2007. Distressingly this gallery flooded with waters rushing out of the King Leopold Ranges to the west and, after nationwide contributions, Warmun once again a new – higher – gallery and restored archival treasures.
Gija language is spoken in Warmun and a number of the artists have become internationally renowned ochre painters, like Lena Nyadbi with her Barramundi Dreaming painted on the roof of the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, which opened June 2013.
Artists such as Patrick Mung Mung, Mabel Juli, Shirley Purdie, Gordon Barney, Phyllis Thomas, Churchill Cann, Beerbee Mungnari, Rusty Peters and Betty Carrington lead the way for a group of more than sixty emerging and younger artists.
The Warmun Art Centre provides artists with economic independence and the opportunity to share Gija culture and country, which they do with calmness and generosity.
Text by Helen Read.
Artwork © The Artist & Warmun Art Centre