Indigenous Australian Artists
Gwoya Jungarai (Anmatyerre, c.1895 – 28 March 1965), known as One Pound Jimmy, was an Australian aboriginal man of the Wailbri people of central Australia. He was the first named aboriginal person to appear on an Australian stamp, in 1950, and today appears on the Australian 2 dollar coin. It’s said he got his one pound name because whenever asked how much it would cost to buy one of the boomerangs he made, his answer was “one pound”.
Ironically, his relatives were killed in the 1928 Coniston Massacre.
Two stamps were issued in 1950 and 1952 with his picture, an 8½ pence stamp and a 2 shillings and 6 pence (half crown) stamp, featuring similar images of him in profile, looking upwards. They were based on a photograph taken by Roy Dunstan in 1935 for Australian Geographic and which appeared on the cover of Walkabout magazine in 1936. That photograph represented a typical Australian aboriginal man, and was well-known in the 1950s.
1 pound Jimmy
His Son, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri was a famous contemporary artist, who lived around Papunya, in the Northern Territory’s Western Desert area, when the acrylic painting style (known popularly as “dot art”) was initiated. Geoffrey Bardon came to Papunya in the early 1970s and encouraged the Aboriginal people to put their dreaming stories on canvas, stories which had previously been depicted ephemerally on the ground. Clifford Possum emerged as one of the leaders in this school of painting, which has come to be called Papunya Tula. Possum was of the Anmatyerre culture-linguistic group from around Alherramp (Laramba) community. He was of the Peltharr skin
He was an expert wood-carver and took up painting long before the emergence of the Papunya Tula School in the early 1970s. When Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri joined this group of ‘dot and circle’ painters early in 1972 he immediately distinguished himself as one of its most talented members and went on to create some of the largest and most complex paintings ever produced.
Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri led a groundbreaking career and was amongst the vanguard of Indigenous Australian artists to be recognised by the international art world. Like Albert Namatjira before him, Clifford Possum blazed a trail for future generations of Indigenous artists; bridging the gap between Aboriginal art and contemporary Australian art.