"Jack Britten, said to me, 'Why don’t you try yourself for painting, you might be all right.'"
Inspired by senior Warmun artists including her late mother, the great Madigan Thomas, Rover Thomas, Queenie McKenzie and her uncle, Jack Britten, Shirley Purdie began to paint her country in the early 1990s. She has been painting for more than twenty years and is an artist of increasing significance and seniority. She is also a prominent leader in Warmun community and an incisive cross-cultural communicator.
Shirley Purdie’s body of work explores sites and narratives associated with the country of her mother and father and is characterised by a bold use of richly textured ochre. Significant places such as Baloowa, Jirragin and Gilban lie on country now taken in by Violet Valley and Mabel Downs cattle stations. Much of her work also explores spirituality and the relationship between Gija conceptions of Ngarranggarni (Dreaming) and Catholicism.
Courtesy of Warmun Art Centre