“When I paint, I paint about my Country, all the things I see...the tribal way”.
This is how Donnie Dixon describes his art, which is made in Warren, NSW. Donnie paints in a style that reflects traditional ground markings and tree carvings in the area.
“When I came back to Warren, there were a bunch of us (The Ngemba-Wailwan Group) who painted together, there’s just a few of us now…”.
The group pioneered a re-engagement with traditional markings and visual language through a project initiated by Outback Arts and the Powerhouse Museum. The process involves representing a ‘soil’ in a layer of oil paint on Belgian linen, and making the marks with a representative ‘spear’ to describe sacred Bora-grounds, rivers, waterholes, campfires, etc.
Donnie worked in Dubbo with the Goolbri Mens Group, working to circumvent youth issues on the street, and was also part of one of the first circle sentencing groups. It was only when he returned to Warren, that he reconnected with his art practice, and others who were doing the same.
“When I came back here, they asked me and I started with the Ngemba-Wailwan Group – we did a lot of good – the stories, that’s what I paint about – what my mother taught me”.
The last of seven brothers and five sisters, Donnie’s art is a lasting legacy to his family and his life.