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My old man [Rover] told me, 'We gotta do painting and tell our stories through there'. Might as well do it through arts so the whole world can hear us.
Clifford Brooks, Wiluna, 2006
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Mary Meribida, Yulparija Artists, acrylic on canvas, 136.5 x 136.0 cm
This is Punmu Country near Well 33, [west] of the Canning Stock Route. He got a well, this Country, for cattle. This is my Country. We been walk 'em, no clothes, nothing. We proper bush people, no English.
In this painting two waterholes are depicted: Punmu, to the left, and Nyirla, an important ceremonial site, east of the stock route. Between these two waters lies the invisible thread of the Canning Stock Route.
Mary Meribida is the daughter of Rover Thomas's sister Kupi, who left the desert with Mary and travelled north-west. They eventually settled at Bidyadang on the Kimberley coast.
Nyuju Stumpy Brown, Mangkaja Arts, acrylic on canvas, 122 x 91 cm
From Kukapanyu [Well 39] my brother Rover left before me. He walked to old station at Mulan; he kept going to Warmun. A long way he walked. He learnt painting now, like we make 'em. A long time ago I saw his painting. I got that idea from him for painting, what he had been doing before us. I learnt different way, my way.
Jo Lagerburg Collection
Billy Thomas, Red Rock Gallery, ochre on canvas, 119.5 x 89.5 cm
Warla are the salt lakes — like Lake Disappointment and the Percival Lakes. The warla in this painting is situated somewhere between wells 40 and 42, the same area where Clifford Brooks's father encountered a massacre site while in search of his brother Rover. The artist describes the warla in this painting as 'flat like an airport'. Salt lakes were in fact used to land military supply planes during the reconditioning of the stock route in the 1940s. While still a teenager working as a stockman on the Canning Stock Route, the artist encountered Rover himself, filling water buckets with the drovers at Kukupanyu (Well 39).