From the Jirrawun Collection
1-30 September, 2018
A landmark solo exhibition by senior Gija artist P. Thomas chronicling her connection to country. The Koskela Gallery has proudly partnered with Warmun Arts to present this heritage exhibition of eight artworks from the Jirrawun collection, an Indigenous owned private art studio that was notable as the base for a range of acclaimed senior Kimberley artists such as P. Thomas, Paddy Bedford, Freddie Timms and Queenie McKenzie.
P. Thomas is a senior Gija artist from Warmun, located in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. These paintings are being offered for the first time since their creation at Jirrawun Arts, an important moment in time for the history of Indigenous contemporary art.
Popular with collectors ever since she started exhibiting works in 1998, P. Thomas was born at Riya on the Turner River in Western Australia in 1933. P. Thomas is a Gija woman of Nagarra skin whose bush name, Booljoonngali, means “big rain coming down with lots of wind”.
P. Thomas paints the gemarre (body paint designs) in broad strokes; the fluidity of the line work is countered by the texture and rawness of the ochre pigment. The collection of works are physical and cultural embodiments of Giga country.
P. Thomas began painting when Freddie Timms set up Jirrawun Arts at Crocodile Hole. Her work, depicting dreaming places and bush tucker form the Crocodile Hole area as well as the country around the middle reaches of the Ord and Turner rivers where she was born, achieved almost immediate success. She was represented in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award exhibition in 1999 and 2000 (Highly Commended).
P. Thomas’ work has been in high demand, acquired by a number of collectors and galleries including exhibitions at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (2016), the National Gallery of Victoria and exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW (2016 - 2017).
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