Catalogue No: BB-7 (BBP08420)
Limited Edition: 20
Medium: Etching with Chine Collé
Image Size: 24.5 x 19.5 cm
Paper size: 55 x 39 cm
This lovely limited edition etching of Artetyerre by Billy Benn is a depiction from memory of his country, Harts Range.
Billy Benn was taught to paint by his two older sisters Ally Kemerre and Gladdy Kemerre, as well as memories of a Chinese lady showing him how to paint. Billy’s father was also an artist creating the more traditional artefacts of boomerangs, spears and wooden sculptures.
It was during his time with Bindi Inc, an organisation established to provide employment opportunities, support and advocacy for people with a disability in Alice Springs, that Billy found a place where he could paint. Billy paints primarily his father’s country. His images are found from memory and feeling, by painting his land Billy brings the country into himself. He plans to paint every hill from his country and then he will stop, then he will return home.
Billy’s paintings cover a wide scope of style, born of his own lack of preciousness, his vivid imagination and colour, texture and material experimentation strategies – rather than the study of other painterly influences. One sees hints of Turner, Cezzane, Van Gogh and the Orientalists within his work, yet these were images never seen by Billy. We are reminded of these other great painters in the variations of light that he captures, rolling ranges painted in deep reds, reminding viewers of the raging seas Turner exposed. From the Central Australian context, they remind one of the great inland sea which once existed here. Yet Billy remarks only on Albert Namatjira being a great painter.
‘My country is Artetyerre, Harts Range, south and east Arrernte. My country painting. My country is Dreaming Antenhe (possum). My Dreaming corroborree. My Dreaming goes to Alcunpa, to another people’s country, north-east from Utopia.’
— Billy Benn Perrurle. Source: Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
Region: Harts Range, NT
As one of Australia's most beloved outsider artists, Billy Benn's work has attained such a significant and unique place in the Aboriginal art market. Since joining Bindi Inc in 1981, he had been painting his father's country, working from memory to create a visual map of country that he has not seen since a boy. He first showed with the Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs in 2000.