Jan Billycan

c1930 - Kirriwirri 2010
  • Synthetic polymer paint on board
90 cm x 60 cm

Jan Billycan (Djan Nanudie) grew up in Ilyarra country. There are jila (living water) in this country including Karrparti, Kawarr, Jurntiwa, and Wirrguj. Other places include Dodo, Kartal, Kiriwirri and Yukarri. When Jan was young she walked all around these places with her parents. The artist said of her country "in living water there is a quiet snake. Sometimes he rises up, but we sing him down sometimes he can travel and bring rain. Ilyarra is my country Ilyarra, where I grew up. Lots of tali (sand dunes) and jila in this country. This big dog country." 

Kirriwirri is near Well 33 on the Canning Stock Route in the Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia. The artist grew up around the Percival Lakes, and had strong ties to Kiriwirri, the Country of her father’s clan and the place where she was born.

In the 1960s she was picked up by extended family members and taken to Bidyadanga, where she lived until her death in 2015.

Billycan was a respected maparn (medicine woman) and began painting in 2003. She returned to her Country for the first time in 2006. Source:  Short St Gallery

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The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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