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Renee Clifton

Renee Clifton is a contemporary Aboriginal artist from Broome, Western Australia. Renee paints about the environment around her that relates to hunting and gathering. The wide range of artwork are based on waterholes, family, bush fruits, land lines, bush animals & more. Renee’s creative designs are inspired by native flora, fauna & the natural environment she lives in & from stories passed down from her elders.

Renee’s father Arnold ‘Puggy’ Hunter is from the Kimberley Region and belongs to the Nyikina and Nyul Nyul Aboriginal groups. Renee’s father’s ancestors originated from the Derby area, Martuwarra (Fitzroy River), Willare and Beagle Bay. Renee’s mother Matilda ‘Blondie’ Pascoe/Queama is from the Northern Desert of South Australia and belongs to the Kokatha Aboriginal group. Renee’s mother’s ancestors originate from Ooldea, Oak Valley and Koonibba. Renee’s daughter Kathleen’s ancestors originate from the Nyul Nyul, Nyikina and Nyamal language groups. Renee, Kathleen and Matilda always enjoy each other's company when they sit down together and paint. Renee says that once the three generations of them sit down and paint together it is something really special, especially hearing all the stories from her mother about family and growing up in South Australia. Renee’s father who sadly passed away at an early age taught Renee all about culture and respect. Renee’s father made sure that Renee grew up in the richness of Aboriginal culture, experiencing corroborees, going to Kimberley Land Council meetings, hunting and gathering, and sitting down listening and yarning with elders.

Renee loved art during high school then lost interest due to having a negative art teacher. After finishing high school a few years later, Renee got inspired by watching her Nana from Wyndham paint. “I just loved all the stories in her paintings and the energy she gave to all her art, no matter what she painted”. Renee was amazed that her Nana painted the crucifix from the catfish bones and painted boab nuts. Gladly Renee and her nana from Wyndham got to do an amazing collaboration piece together for the newly established Kimberley Regional Dialysis Centre in Broome, which was a very significant art project to both Renee and her nana. After the Kimberley Regional Dialysis Centre project Renee did not take on art full time but rather enjoyed playing sports and umpiring and coaching basketball for primary and high school kids of Broome.

Thankfully the inspiration of Renee’s daughter Kathleen, who loved art at a very young age got her mother to pick up a paintbrush again, 23 years later. Today not only is Renee creating beautiful art, she has inspired her husband, all of her children, mother, siblings, niece and many friends to create beautiful art. When people tell Renee that they have no idea how to paint or create art, Renee tells them that “everyone is an artist and to give it a try”. Renee is very thankful that Kathleen has got her creating unique pieces of art about herself and sharing stories from her up bringing. This exposure has led to Renee selling artwork locally, nationally and internationally.

Renee has grown up surrounded by family and friends who love sitting down yarning and sharing stories. Renee’s family’s favourite place to go is Budgarjook with her husband Albert, their five children and mother-in-law Helga. They get to camp under the stars, go fishing, crabbing, collect cockles, enjoy the beautiful sunsets, walks along the beach and most importantly sit around the campfire, yarn, enjoy the food they gathered and have a good laugh. Alot of these times going out bush has reflected in alot of Renee’s art especially the importance of family gathering together, enjoying each other's company, connecting with nature and making all their liyan strong. She believes that there is nothing better than being on country and connecting with ancestors and being with her family. Renee said that without her husband Albert’s support, her art journey would not be possible and she appreciates everything he does. Renee also says that her children give her so much inspiration to keep on painting and loves that now she can sit down with her own five children and pass on culture and stories.

In 2020 one artist in every region of Western Australia was selected to produce a piece of art for the Western Australia Police Academy in Joondalup, Renee was selected as the representing artist from the Kimberley region. In 2021 Renee was selected as an Aboriginal artist for Revealed Fremantle Art Exhibition at the Fremantle Art Centre. She was very excited being selected, especially being the only independent Aboriginal artist from Broome and representing Broome. In 2021 Renee also became a finalist for the National Capital Art Prize in Canberra, with her artwork creation of “Going for Cockles.” This was really exciting for Renee being the only artist chosen from the Kimberley Region. Also only two Aboriginal artist was chosen in the whole of Western Australia, this being Renee and the other Aboriginal artist was from the Pilbara. Renee’s painting “Going for Cockles” has now been sold internationally.

Renee has now taken on collaborations with her artwork appearing on 2022 Rawlinson’s Construction Handbook and Cost Guide. Renee has requested that with every copy sold by Rawlinson that, Rawlinson will donate towards the Royal Flying Doctors (a charity of Renee’s choice). Renee has collaborated with another artist in South Australia in selling earrings on recycled coffee pods, she has also collaborated with teachers to have Aboriginal artwork on educational materials. Renee has used her artwork for sporting uniforms, shirts for Aboriginal conferences such as the ‘Stop Elder Abuse’ hosted by the Labor Member for the Mining & Pastoral Region office Broome. Renee’s art was also used for a conference by the Kimberley Aboriginal Women’s Council. Renee has volunteered her time doing art for NAIDOC at St Mary’s Primary School, the Diocese of Broome and Broome Primary School all of which are in Broome.

In 2019 Renee donated a piece of art to St Mary’s College to help proceeds go toward the year 6 school camp to Canberra. Renee has also donated artwork to families that were going through hard times last year and donated art for some people who volunteered alot in the community. Renee has also donated prints to someone that contacted her for assistance with their fundraiser as they had a life threatening disease. Renee has also donated art in a GP practice in Broome and the local hospital children’s ward. Renee’s artwork can also be seen in one of the Broome’s birthing suites. She has been complemented many times that her paintings gives a very calming effect. Renee has been told that her artwork in a local dental office in Broome ‘Pearly Whites’ have made patients relax before their dental procedure. Renee has also been told that her work in one of the Breast Screening Units in WA made their experience much better before having a scan. In 2020 Broome Primary School contacted Renee to do a commission piece, ready for their new school office. The components of the painting had to represent all the culture the school had with all the Yawuru elements of animals and a representation of children, staff and family of the Broome Primary School community. This commission piece was limited to only using the colours Yellow, White, Black and grey. In 2021 Renee was invited to the Darling Range Sports College, Forrestfield cultural camp to do artwork with the high school students.

Renee’s daughter Kathleen’s artwork is used as the logo for the Kimberley Aboriginal Women’s Council and has been used in all of their publishing’s. Kathleen’s artwork has also appeared on sporting uniforms. Currently Renee is in the process of having her artwork put on a splashback for a property in Broome, which is very exciting. Renee is very happy to speak to you about your project or artwork requirements. Renee can also do personalised stories in her artwork for you. Renee is very excited that she is able to offer the highest quality prints of her artwork and can post locally, nationally or internationally.  Renee is also able to provide original pieces of artwork or prints for all different sizes and colour schemes required.

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