HELP US ACQUIRE THIS IMPORTANT WORK
This significant addition to the Collection will help to expand our understanding of Nyoongar experience and identity, including the ongoing impacts of invasion and dispossession.
Ancestors Before the Journey of the Dreaming is an outstanding example of Shane Pickett’s work, created at the height of his artistic prowess. It is a deeply compelling and visually striking painting that beautifully articulates the resistance and resilience of Nyoongar people and their culture.
Born in Quairading (Ballardung Country) Pickett, grew up on a small Aboriginal mission in the Wheatbelt agricultural region east of Perth. Over a three-decade career, Pickett’s work transformed from detailed landscape paintings reminiscent of Albert Namatjira into a groundbreaking and expressive form of gestural abstraction.
He developed a new visual language to represent the cornerstones of Nyoongar culture: the pathways of ancestors, traditional healing practices and places, and the six Nyoongar seasons. He would sometimes describe his paintings as ‘windows into the Dreaming’, and the strength of his culture is delivered all through his work with brilliant, lyrical intensity.
Exploring not only physical healing but also healing of environmental destruction and the wounds of colonisation, his paintings show the persistence of Nyoongar ways of seeing the country.
Shane Pickett’s Nyoongar name, Meeyakba, or ‘soft light of the moon’, captures the spirit of an artist who set a beacon for those who follow him. He is remembered as the preeminent Nyoongar artist of his time and one of the great painters of the Western Australian landscape.