Clifford Possum Japaltjarri
Clifford Possum was one of Australia’s most well known and well respected Aboriginal artists.
He was born around 1932 at Napperby Station, north-west of Alice Springs and worked as a stockman until his mid-twenties. His artistic career began in the 1950’s carving wooden snakes and goannas however it wasn’t until the 1970’s, when Geoffrey Bardon started the Papunya Tula Artists that Clifford, under the tutelage of his brother Tim Leura, began to paint. He then went on to become the Chairman of Papunya Tula Artists throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Clifford’s paintings were of a style and scale that had not been seen before and his work bridged the gap between Aboriginal art and contemporary Australian art, as well as revolutionising the way that Indigenous art and culture was perceived worldwide.
The inspiration and content for his paintings came from his “father” One Pound Jim Tjungarrayi and his travels as a stockman, which gave him an intimate knowledge of his traditional Aboriginal lands and beyond. He is best known for his Love Story paintings however also paints Worm Dreaming, Possum Dreaming, Bushfire Dreaming, Goanna Dreaming and Honey Ant Dreaming however what sets Clifford’s paintings apart is his use of dots to create a three dimensional image and it is imperative that his paintings be seen not only for their colour, composition and balance but also for their mythological details.
Clifford Possum received the Order of Australia in 2002 and his work is held in major public and private collections throughout the world.