Rusty Peters | Artist Profile

Details of Rusty Peters


Rusty Peters was born at Springvale Station in the East Kimberley, Western Australia in 1935. Rusty grew up on the station and became a stockman on Springvale, which features heavily in the content of many of his works. The family relocated to Mabel Downs Station after his father was lost in a riding accident, and Rusty continued as a stockman and valued horse-breaker. The family then moved to the fledgling Turkey Creek Community (now Warmun) where Rusty took his place with the Kitja Elders in passing on the culture to the young boys. He worked with Hector Jandany and George Mung Mung who along with Jack Britten and Paddy Jampinji were to become the First Generation Ochre artists, all of whom are now deceased.

In 1989 he moved to Kununurra and worked at Waringarri Aboriginal Art Centre, the first in the East Kimberley area. He assisted artists, in particular Rover Thomas (dcsd.) and learned the many facets of the art trade whilst painting occasionally. He participated in printmaking workshops with Waringarri. He commenced painting seriously in 1997 with Freddie Timms and Paddy Bedford. His intimate knowledge of the country from his background on stations and the associated Dreaming Stories now form the basis of his very distinctive works, depicting a sparse mapping style and grass routes bones of the earth iconography.

Rusty has the most interesting face, weathered by the rugged Kimberley conditions and perhaps by life itself. The very well known artist Nicholas Harding who has been an Archibald finalist every year since 1994 and won the Archibald Prize in 2001 with a painting of actor John Bell, in 2002 and 2004 submitted portraits of Rusty for this prestigious Award.

His dry sense of humour and casual style of speaking is legendary - in 2005 whilst attending an Exhibition at Parliament House in Canberra, in reply to political remarks such as (Aboriginal Art) is our most profound, significant and important cultural export. "I don't think there's any question about that" Rusty merely commented "I'm just proud of what we've done.

Rusty Peters is an established high profile international Aboriginal artist, with works in many major Collections and Museums around the world.

2003 - Rusty Peters, Strong Language, Grantpirrie, Redfern, NSW
2002 - Rusty Peters, Waterbrain, Grantpirrie, Redfern, NSW

2014 - 2016 'The world is not a foreign land', National tour, The Ian Potter Museum of Art
2011 - Jiliny, Short St Gallery, Broome, WA
2010 - The Dreamers, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, NSW
2009 - The Dreamers, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, NSW
2007 - Retrospective with his sister Mabel Juli, Kuntjil Cooper, Alkawari Dawson and Garry Namponan, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne
2007 - Ochre on Board, Japingka Gallery, Fremantle
2007 - Received with Thanks, New Aquisitions 2001 - 07, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne, VIC
2006 - Rusty Peters Recent Paintings, William Mora Galleries, Melbourne
2006 - TarraWarra Biennial, 2006 Parallel Lives: Australian Painting Today, TarraWarra Museum of Art, VIC
2006 - Country in Mind, Five Contemporary Aboriginal Artists, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne, VIC
2005 - Parallel Lives, Australian Painting Today, TarraWarra Museum of Art, VIC
2004 - Rusty Peters Long Fella Standing Up, William Mora Galleries, Melbourne
2003 - True Stories, Art of the East Kimberley, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, NSW
2002 - Blood on the Spinifex, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne
2002 - Rusty Peters Recent Paintings, William Mora Galleries, Melbourne
2002 - Rhapsodies in Country, GrantPirrie at Art Miami, USA
2002 - Two Laws. . .One Big Spirit (with Peter Adsett), 24Hour Art, Darwin and Touring Nationally
2001 - Yiribana Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Gallery, Art Gallery of New South Wales
1999 - Rusty Peters - Kimberley Stories, William Mora Galleries, Melbourne

Selected Collections

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
(Acquisition of an eight panel painting Waterbrain depicting the cycle of birth, rebirth and knowledge - the featured artwork in the True Stories Exhibition 2003)
Leewuin Estate Collection
Private and Corporate collections Australia and Internationally

Selected Bibliography

McADAM, Charlie and family as told to Elizabeth Tregenza, Boundary Lines, McPhee Gribble, Ringwood, 1995
Rusty Peters Kimberley Stories, ex cat, William Mora Galleries, Melbourne, 1999
Two Big Laws...One Big Spirit, ex cat, 24 Hr Art, Darwin, 2000

Artworks of Rusty Peters