Rusty Peters was born in 1935 at Springvale Station in the East Kimberley, Western Australia. 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 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.
Rusty Peters 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 roots 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, painted Rusty’s most intriguing face for the 2002 and 2004 Archibald.
Rusty Peters is an established high profile international Aboriginal artist, with works in many major Collections and Museums around the world.
This piece depicts the story of Rusty’s grandfather’s country, which is near Warloo, WA. The blue areas in the painting depict Warloo.
Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
(Acquisition of an eight panel painting Waterbrain depicting the cycle of birth, rebirth and
Knowledge, featured in the True Stories Exhibition 2003