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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Untitled, from the Jirrawun Suite



Rusty Peters


1935 - 30 Jul 2020

Language group

Gija, Kimberley region


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


Place where the work was made

Melbourne Victoria Australia



Media category


Materials used

pastel on white wove paper


60.0 x 76.0 cm image/sheet (irreg.)

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner verso, pencil "RUSTY PETERS". Not dated.


Purchased 2002


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Rusty Peters

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made