Jooroob 'Coming Together'

About the exhibition

To celebrate Warmun Art Centre’s 20th anniversary, Aboriginal Contemporary’s Nichola Dare has curated a unique exhibition, bringing together, for the first time in public, Warmun’s iconic style with rare works from the East Kimberley’s other landmark art movement, Jirrawun Arts.

Both art centres came to life in 1998. Aboriginal art legend Rover Thomas set Warmun’s direction, while Melbourne gallerist, Tony Oliver, immersed himself in the lives of the Jirrawun artists and gave them a window to the post-modernism of Warhol, Miro and Scully. These influences helped shape the remarkable Jirrawun Collection, a bold and epic body of work, singing the narratives of the East Kimberley Gija mob.

Sometimes, Jirrawun artists depicted their country; other times, confronting stories of the massacre and turmoil of its people; at all times, their work was coveted by galleries and auction houses around the world. Originally formed as a response to the maltreatment of Aboriginal artists by carpetbaggers* and to promote equity for remote artists in Kununurra and Wyndham, Jirrawun closed its doors in 2009. Key artists, such as Phyllis Thomas, Rammey Ramsey, Peggy Patrick and Rusty Peters continued their painting at Warmun, where, almost a decade later, they still inform its direction. Jooroob is Gija for ‘Coming Together’ and the exhibition is both a celebration of two decades of East Kimberley contemporary art and a rare opportunity to acquire paintings from both Warmun and the prized Jirrawun archive.

* Carpetbaggers – Individuals who make an unfair profit on top of sales are called carpetbaggers. They undercut artists because they pay less for works than what the market dictates. They can also distribute forgeries or works that have been acquired unethically. They are not accountable to an organisation or body that ensures best practice.

To view the catalogue please click in the here.