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Rusty Peters

(Australia 1935 – )

Language group
Gija, Kimberley region
Untitled, from the Jirrawun Suite
Place of origin
Media category
Materials used
watercolour on white wove paper

57.0 x 76.0 cm image/sheet (irreg.)

Signature & date
Signed lower c. verso, "RUSTY PETERS". Not dated.
Purchased 2002
Accession number
© Rusty Peters. Warmun Arts Centre
Not on display
Further information

The Jirrawun Suite is a unique collection of 23 drawings and paintings by three prominent Gija artists - Hector Jandany, Paddy Bedford and Rusty Peters. The works were made in Melbourne in 1998 where the artists had access to a studio prior to an exhibition. These are seminal works on paper in gouache and pastel created by the Jirrawun artists in the early days of the establishment of the corporation by Freddie Timms. As such, they capture the energy of the period and are a strong affirmation of Gija culture and pride.

Rusty Peters was born at Springvale station south-west of Warmun. He grew up there, learning traditional law and worked as a stockman until he moved to Warmun after the introduction of award wages forced people off the stations. Peters helped start the bi-cultural school at Warmun with Hector Jandany and others and as part of the Gija cultural program he took groups of boys out bush to teach them traditional tool manufacturing and survival skills. He also worked in the Gija language maintenance program. In 1989 Peters moved to Kununurra and began work at Warringarri Arts where he assisted Rover Thomas and other artists and also worked packing the finished paintings, etc. He moved to Rugan (Crocodile Hole) and began painting for Jirrawun in 1997. The three works by Peters in this suite are representative of the first phase of his painting career using bright yellow as a signature colour. In the past two years he has changed his palette considerably as evidenced by the two paintings in our collection - 'Chinaman's Garden massacre' 2000 and 'Waterbrain' 2002.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2002