• Artwork:All That Big Rain
  • Artist:Rover Thomas
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All That Big Rainby Rover Thomas

The cover of this notebook depicts an reproduction image of an known artwork painted by Aboriginal artist Rover Thomas. The artwork description is about memories of the artists fond nostalgia for Texas Downs. All that big rain coming from topside 1991 depicts a waterfall on the station. Thomas and his co-workers would seek relief from the long, hot and humid days of hard mustering in the wet season to 'holiday' at this waterfall, where the caves in the cliff face provided shelter. The place is also the site of a tragedy. Thomas tells of an occasion when a group of people sought refuge from a violent thunderstorm in one of the caves at the waterfall. A bolt of lighting struck the cave and the roof collapsed, killing everyone.

The upper half of the painting shows channels of water running to the cliff's edge and then falling down the side of the hill. In the lower section, the brushy application of the yellow pigment combined with the varying density of paint produce a sense of light shining through the cascading torrents of water. The work is an outstanding example of Thomas's intuitive, painterly skill-a master's touch.

Text @ National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010

  • Artist:Rover Thomas
  • Title:All That Big Rain
  • ID:AB013
  • Medium:Hard cover A5 approx 112 blank pages
  • Size:16 x 22 cm
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Artist

Rover Thomas Joolama was born in c. 1926 and passed away on the 11th of April 1998, one of Australia's greatest Indigenous artist.

He was born at Gunawaggi in the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia. At the age of 10 Rover and his family moved to the Kimberley where, as was usual at the time, he began work as a stockman. Later in his life Thomas lived at Turkey Creek where he and his friend Paddy Tjamati broke away from the tradition of producing tribal art on canvas and instead painted landscapes on dismembered tea chests.

Thomas was awarded the John McCaughey Prize in 1990 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Thomas was one of the two Aboriginal Australians to exhibit in the Venice Biennale in 1990, alongside Trevor Nickolls. He was the subject of the important solo exhibition Roads Cross: The Paintings of Rover Thomas, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra in 1994.

In 2000, Thomas's work was amongst that of eight individual and collaborative groups of Indigenous Australian artists shown in the prestigious Nicholas Hall at the Hermitage Museum in Russia. The exhibition received a positive reception from Russian critics, one of whom wrote:

This is an exhibition of contemporary art, not in the sense that it was done recently, but in that it is cased in the mentality, technology and philosophy of radical art of the most recent times. No one, other than the Aborigines of Australia, has succeeded in exhibiting such art at the Hermitage.

Thomas and Emily Kame Kngwarreye were amongst the most successful Australian artists in the national and global art markets.

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