This painting celebrates the land and the artist’s knowledge of it. The country he paints is very special to him, it is his birthplace. Billy Benn no longer lives there, so he paints it from memory. He dreams of returning there but, until he does, he keeps his home close to his heart by devotedly painting every part of it. He plans to paint every hill from his country and then he will stop, and return home.
Billy Benn Perrurle, Alyawarre people
Central Australian artist Billy Benn was born in 1943 at Harts Range and when he was a teenager he was taught to paint on skin by his sisters. As a young man he worked as a miner and drover and later in life developed his talents as an artist. He began to collect old wood from a mill and liked to make only small paintings which saved money buying expensive paints.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010