Rover (Julama) Thomas – Acclaimed as a cultural leader and the seminal figure in establishing the East Kimberley School, Rover Thomas is, according to almost every empirical measure, the most influential Aboriginal artist in the history of this movement. Yet, had he become an artist in his Walmatjarri-Kukaja traditional country, near Well 33 on the Canning Stock Route, his art would have doubtlessly developed along completely different lines, assuming he’d had the opportunity to paint at all. So remote was his birthplace that, had he not spent a lifetime of travel and finally settled in Gidja tribal country at Turkey Creek, hundreds of kilometers to the north, he would most likely have been drawn to the Warlayiriti artist’s cooperative at Balgo Hills when it was established in mid 1987. The Kukaja artists of Balgo Hills have much closer aesthetic ties to the Pintupi painters of Kintore and Kiwirrkurra in their use of representational symbols, such as circles, u-shapes and dotting drawn from low relief ceremonial ground sculpture than the Gija, whose primary influence is rock art and ceremonial body painting designs.
via. Cooee Art
This piece was painted in 1996 and is 120cm x 90cm in size.
Although he occasionally included figurative elements and topographical profiles in his paintings, Rover’s work is more familiarly characterized by an aerial perspective in common with Central and Western desert art. His most contemplative and sombre works draw the viewer in to spacious planes of painterly applied and textured ochre. White or black dots serve only to create emphasis or to draw the eye along pathways of time and movement, following the forms of the land in which important events are encoded. In many of his works the predominant use of black conveys a startling, strangely emotional, intensity. Warm and earthy ochres, and a palpable sense of spirituality, invite the viewer on the one hand, to consider the unfolding of important events, while at the same time, purposefully sustain us in an ancient and timeless landscape.
via. Cooee Art
This particular artwork is painted with Orche and acrylic paint.