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Yulparitja Artists

Bidyadanga Community
Broome, Western Australia

Situated in Bidyadanga on the traditional lands of the Karajarri is Yulparitja Artists; a collective of artists rendering the vibrant tract of country along the Kimberly coastline in technicolour.

Yulparitja Artists on country
photo courtesy of Short Street Gallery

Formerly known as La Grange Station, the Bidyadanga Aboriginal Community was once a telegraph post for surrounding stations and luggers, and later a Catholic mission. During the 1970s, the impact of equal pay reforms resulted in many Aboriginal people losing their jobs on pastoral stations. This coincided with a severe drought forcing various First Nations peoples to leave their homelands and emigrate across the interior. Many Bidyadanga residents whose traditional Country sprawls across the Great Sandy Desert, arrived in the community during this time.  The Yulparitja were one of the smallest groups forced off their homelands during this period, and despite the conditions under which they arrived, they have developed a strong connection to Bidyadanga and have come to call it home.

The community
Today, Bidyadanga is the largest remote community in Western Australia; home to approximately 750 people from the Karajarri, Juwalinny, Mangala, Nyungamarta and Yulparitja language groups. Set against the dramatic beauty of the Kimberly coastline, Bidyadanga has become a cross-cultural hub; its unique blend of culture, history and art resulting in a dynamic and creative atmosphere, with a developing local economy.
Photo credit: Joseph Purdam

Yulparitja Artists work closely with Short Street Gallery in Broome, supporting established and emerging artists to achieve cultural and commercial success. 

Storytelling is a key cultural responsibility in caring for Country, and artists such as the phenomenal Daniel Walbidi create complex, multi-layered works encoded with layers of esoteric meaning. 

Many artists that paint at the art centre are also Yulparitja Elders; their work often depicting the vast swathes of Country surrounding Well 33 on the Canning Stock Route. 

Painted in intimate detail, their works depict the Dreaming sites of their homelands; the associated stories embedded with a set of parables that regulate life, culture and survival in the desert environs. 

Layered in the rich ochres, cool azures, and gentle sherbet hues of the Kimberley coast, the works of Yulparitja Artists offer a contemporary, cross-cultural form of landscape painting celebrating the living cultures of the region.

   Photo credit: Joseph Purdam     
Yulparitja Country   
Photo courtesy of Short Street Gallery