Desert Creekbed Country

Andrew Tjupurrula Highfold

Artwork Year



84 x 60 cm


acrylic on canvas


Andrew Highfold has spent a lot of time around Alice Springs with members of his family. In his paintings he captures features of the landscape that he has seen around there, including rocky outcrops, sandhills, river beds and creeks, depicting their physical features as they change with the seasons, wet and dry. He says: “Now the river flows in the Wet. I’ve seen it flood four times – it really floods. In times after the rains, it can be very dry on top, but dig down and there’s the water. That’s how Aboriginal people do it, they dig down for water. When it’s dry you can really see the difference. This country reminded me of Indulkana Creek in the APY Lands where my people come from.

I like using a contemporary style with traditional input. As a contemporary artist I ask my family what I can paint. I like ochre colours, reds and oranges. I get the ideas of the bush colours by looking around. This represents Country, how Country blooms. Apart from the creeks there are the deeper waterholes. Through my painting, it really connects me to who I am. It strengthens my Aboriginality. I can pass it on to my kids and create family connections. It brings my family together. When I was in Alice and painting, it would all bring us together. My brothers would come around and they would sing to the paintings. Painting is good for my kids, it documents that historical kinship.”

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