Australian Art


Stumpy Brown
Stumpy Brown

AKA: Stumpy Brown

Born: 1924 Wangkatjungka, Kimberley, WA

  • Aboriginal
  • Known

Now one of the most celebrated and distinctive of the Kimberley artists from the Fitzroy Crossing region, Nyuju Stumpy Brown is a Wangkatjungka woman who was born on the Canning Stock Route at place called Ngapawarlu. Stumpy is a full sister to the late artist Rover Thomas. She lost her mother and father at an early age and was raised by her uncle, Jamali who was droving bullocks on the Canning Stock Route. He took Nyuju to Balgo Hills when she was a little girl and later returned to Fitzroy Crossing where Nyuju grew up and lived most of her life.

Brown a senior Wangkatjungka law woman and traditional owner of Ngupawarlu, distinguished herself as one of the leading artists at Karrayili Community school in the mid 1980's. Many of her paintings were chosen for the bough-shed series of gift cards published by Magabala in 1988. Her works were first exhibited in the Mangkaja Arts group exhibition, “Karrayili” at Tandanya Arts Centre, Adelaide, in 1991. They were later featured in Images of Power: Aboriginal art of the Kimberley, National Gallery of Victoria.

Like most of the other women artists working through the Mangkaja Arts Centre, Stumpy worked almost exclusively on paper. Recently, Stumpy has been painting on canvas with startling effect. Her work has blossomed to meet the challenges of the larger scale and medium and she has attracted an even larger audience for her stunning, vibrant paintings.

Stumpy’s inspired and sure use of strong colour on her canvasses has established her as one of the best and most collectable of the artists from the Kimberley. Already represented in the National Gallery and many private collections, Stumpy is currently producing some of the best work of her distinguished career.

Today Stumpy lives mostly at Wangkatjungka Community, about 120 kilometres from Fitzroy Crossing, with her husband Hitler Pamba. Her paintings are well recognized from extensive exhibitions with other leading artists from Fitzroy Crossing. She maintains a senior role in law business relating to traditional Wangkatjungka lands and customs.

Exhibition History: Group Shows
1991 Karrayili - Tandanya, Adelaide
1992 Group Show - Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1993 Mangkaja Women - Fremantle Art Centre
1993 Images of Power: Aboriginal Art from the Kimberley - National Gallery Victoria
1994 Ngajakurra Ngurrara Minyarti, this is my country - Festival Of Perth Exhibition / Artplace Gallery, Perth
1995 Kimberley Art - Melbourne
1995 Group Show - Australian Perspectives Gallery, Brisbane
1996 Heritage Commission Art Award - Old Parliament House, Canberra
1996 Group Show - Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1997 Group Show - Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
1998 Group Show - Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London
1999 Ngurrara - Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
2001 Ngurrara Canvas - National Gallery of Australia
2001 Mangkaja Arts Ten Years On Mangkaja’s 10 year Anniversary Show - Tandanya, Adelaide
2002 Group Show - Art Mob Gallery, Hobart
2003 Ten Mangkaja Women - Raft Artspace, Darwin
2003 Stumpy Brown, Penny K. Lyons and Maryanne Downs - Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
2004 Telstra Awards, Darwin, NT
1991 Karrayili; Ten years on - Exhibition Catalogue
1993 Mangkaja Women's Exhibition catalogue
1993 Images of Power: Aboriginal Art from the Kimberley - Exhibition Catalogue
1994 Ngajakurra Ngurrara Minyarti, This Is My Country Exhibition catalogue
1996 Yirra: Land Law and Language, Strong and Alive - Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre Publication
1998 Jila Painted Waters of the Great Sandy Desert - Video Documentary / SBS Television
2000 Ngurrara Entry / Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art - Oxford University Press & ANU
2000 Karrayili The history of Karrayili Adult Education Centre - IATSIS Canberra
2001 Painting Up Big, The Ngurrara Canvas - Kaltja Now National Aboriginal Cultural Institute - Tandanya

National Gallery of Australia National Gallery of Victoria
Berndt Museum of Anthropology, University of Western Australia
Northern Territory University


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