One of the first two Indigenous artists to represent Australia at the 1990 Venice Biennale, Rover Thomas’ works sparked a greater appreciation of Aboriginal art, both nationally and internationally.
A desert man, the story of his life is interwoven with that of the Canning Stock Route. Thomas was born in the 1920s and raised in the Country around its middle stretches. At an early age he was picked up by a drover, Wally Dowling, and taken north to Billiluna and the Kimberley. He became a stockman himself, and eventually married and settled at Turkey Creek. There, in the 1970s, he pioneered the East Kimberley school of ochre painting on canvas.