Jan Billycan (born circa 1930) Kirriwirri, 2007
Lot 189
Jan Billycan (born circa 1930) Kirriwirri, 2007
Sold for AU$ 97,600 (US$ 79,831) inc. premium

Lot Details
Jan Billycan (born circa 1930)
Kirriwirri, 2007
natural earth pigments on plywood
180 x 180cm (70 7/8 x 70 7/8in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Painted at Bidyadanga, Western Australia
    Purchased from Raft Artspace, Darwin in September 2007

    EXHIBITED:
    Winpa works by the Yulparitja artists of Bidyadanga, Raft Artspace, Darwin, 11 August - 1 September 2007, cat no. 8
    Paintings from Remote Communities: Indigenous Australian Art from the Laverty Collection, Sydney, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle, 5 July - 31 August 2008
    The Colin and Elizabeth Laverty collection - a selection of Indigenous and non-Indigenous art exhibition, Geelong Gallery, Geelong, 18 February to 15 April 2012

    LITERATURE:
    Colin Laverty and Elizabeth Laverty et al., Beyond Sacred: Recent Painting from Australia's Remote Aboriginal Communities - the collection of Colin and Elizabeth Laverty, Melbourne: Hardie Grant Books, 2008, pp.168-169 (illus.)
    Colin Laverty and Elizabeth Laverty et al., Beyond Sacred: Australian Aboriginal Art - the collection of Colin and Elizabeth Laverty, Edition II, Melbourne: Kleimeyer Industries, 2011, pp.170-171 (illus.)

    The multi-paneled paintings of Jan Billycan are the
    seminal pieces in her oeuvre. Watching her at work,
    she would begin to depict a story on one panel–her
    mind full of ideas and memories of the place of
    her birth Kirriwirri, of travelling from waterhole to
    waterhole in the desert–then run out of room and
    continue the narrative journey on another panel, then
    another. The largest of the multi-paneled paintings to
    date, All the Jila, 2006, is in collection of the National
    Gallery of Australia and featured in the first National
    Indigenous Triennial in 2007 (see Croft, B.L., Culture
    Warriors: National Indigenous Triennial
    , Canberra: National
    Gallery of Australia, 2007, p.68, illus.). It is in the large
    paintings that Jan Billycan captures the epic details of
    her personal and cultural histories that are laid bare in a
    visceral, gestural style.

    The landscape and bodyscape are continually merged
    in Jan Billycan's paintings. She raises issues of identity
    and the metaphysical nature of things, while playing
    on the idea that the land and self as one. Jan does not
    see the human form as differing from the land; they
    are one and reflect each other. The 'rib cages' in her
    paintings become sprawling 'tali' or sand dunes. The
    'intestines' are like walking tracks through the desert.
    Jan's paintings have the appearance of a naïve rawness
    that belies their emotional sophistication, and her
    complex understanding of the physical world. Jan walks
    the boundary of what is acceptable in art. She mixes
    colours directly on the canvas, working lines repeatedly
    until they have a density and a unique hue that reflects
    the individuality of each single sand dune in the desert
    or every single bone in the body.

    Jan Billycan is an important healer and medicine
    woman and highly respected elder amongst the desert
    people near Punmu, Pungurr, and Kunawarritji, and
    in the communities of Broome and Bidyadanga. She
    has been represented in several major exhibitions in
    Australia and abroad, most recently in Yiwarra Kuju:
    The Canning Stock Route at the National Museum of
    Australia
    , Canberra, 2010. In 2011 Jan Billycan won
    the Western Australian Artist Award at the Art Gallery
    of Western Australia.

    Emily Rohr

    This painting is sold with accompanying Short St Gallery documentation.
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