Fitzroy Crossing, in remote north Western Australia, is an Aboriginal community that has become a major artistic force. The work from the area is now generally considered amongst the most exciting and vital being produced in Australia. It is unique in its mixture of the representational and the abstract.
Fitzroy Crossing was one of the cattle centres of the Kimberley. It became a focus for deracinated Aborigines seeking work in the 1950s. As a result many different Aboriginal groups have become settled in and around the small town. They come from different places, have different languages, and different stories, and something of this diversity is revealed in their art.
But, more importantly, art has proved a means for them of asserting and reclaiming their individual cultural identities and their half-lost traditions, as well as discovering a new sense of living community.
Their pictures not only record the dreamtime stories of their land, but recall incidents of everyday life in the ‘station days’ and the present. These themes provide the work with an undeniable power and integrity, which sings out amongst the bright colours of the desert landscapes.
For the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery's 28th Songlines Season, Conway Street will host an exhibition of works on paper and canvas by Fitzroy Crossing painters Butcher Cherel (c.1920 -2009), Jimmy Pike (1940 – 2002), Stumpy Brown (1924 – 2011), Pijaju Peter Skipper (1929 – 2007), Jukuna Mona Chuguna (c.1933 - 2011), Wataru Cory Surprise (c. 1929 - 2011) and Mervyn Street. Paintings by Jukuna Mona Chuguna will also be on display at Charlotte Street until 6 August.