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Ivy Drill

Warmun Art Centre

Ivy Drill paints her country, Yarunga (Chinaman’s Garden), which lies to the south of Warmun.

Ivy grew up on Yarunga and her family are from Alice Downs station. She is the sister of Mary Thomas and the sister-in-law of Shirley Drill. When she was a teenager she went to school in Halls Creek, and later moved to Frog Hollow Community. Today she lives in Halls Creek.

Like many Gija people, displaced from country after equal wages were introduced for Aboriginal Stock Workers in the early 1960’s, Ivy’s art practice becomes a place for her to think back to and materialize on canvas a Country that she does not often have the chance to visit these days. Ivy begun painting in 2011.

Speaking about her painting and Country become one. Personal and political histories are brought together in a visual conversation. Of the solid shapes that dominate the centre of much of Ivy’s works, she remarks:

“Growing up me and my family used to go looking for gold and we put it in Milk Tins and would bury the tins under ground, til we need it for rations or to buy a Toyota for whole family to go bush. The Warmun mob used to come visit us [at Yarunga] for a few days, sometimes weeks. When that flood come we run up. Run to Halls Creek. We bin camp then, camping there and go back, back Chinamen’s Garden. We bin go there and camp, and see that cement where them houses used to be. That’s the cement on the side, and that hole in the middle where houses used to be. That’s my memory, of Chinamen Garden after the flood.”