“My old people used to tell me to paint. But I’d stop. 'Nah. Too hard,' I'd tell them. They'd say, 'Keep going – you’ll find your liyan [that good feeling in the guts].' But when you start – you gotta finish… In this work, here [now], I found my liyan.”
Churchill worked as a stockman from an early age on Texas Downs cattle station, east of Warmun. He moved around his own country and also worked at Alice Downs, Mabel Downs Spring Creek and Lissadell Stations. Riding in the bush was a way of being in the country and absorbing knowledge from his elders.
Churchill Cann has been painting for many years, influenced by the first generation of artists that established the Warmun contemporary art movement. His precise textures, lucid compositions of country, haunting mystery and the gravity of marginalised histories are marks of a new-found confidence and surety.
Courtesy of Alana Hunt & Warmun Art Centre
Churchill Cann passed away on 21 Jan 2016. He is sadly missed by his community.