Shirley Purdie

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Shirley Purdie
Born 1948 (1948)
Mabel Downs station, Kimberley region, Western Australia
Nationality Australian
Known for Painting
Notable work Stations of the Cross
Awards 2007 Blake Prize for Religious Art

Shirley Purdie is a contemporary Indigenous Australian artist, notable for winning the 2007 Blake Prize for Religious Art. Purdie was born at Gilburn, or Mabel Downs Station, in Western Australia's Kimberley region in 1948, and is a painter at Warmun Community.


Purdie was born at Gilburn, or Mabel Downs Station, in Western Australia's Kimberley region in 1948,[1] daughter of Madigan Thomas. She moved to Warmun, not far from her birthplace, where she lives and paints. She is married to artist Gordon Barney.[2]


Purdie was taught by her mother and by major Kimberley Indigenous artist Queenie McKenzie, two women who were among the first to paint ar Warmun in the early 1980s.[2]

Purdie has won several awards, including the Blake Prize for Religious Art in 2007, for her work Stations of the Cross. The work portrays the Christian iconography of the 14 Stations of the Cross, but also the history of conflict and racial violence in the artist's community in the 1920s and 1930s.[3] Purdie's works are held by major galleries, including the National Gallery of Australia, which has her 1996 lithograph, Giwiwan - Bow River Country. This print shows the influence of the painting style of major artist Rover Thomas.[2]


  1. ^ "Nemalowaling country / dog and kangaroo dreaming 1995". Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art. National Gallery of Australia. 2007. Retrieved 14 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Walton, Alexandra (Summer 2007–08). "Franck Gohier Archive". artonview. National Gallery of Australia (52): 46. 
  3. ^ "Indigenous work nabs religious art prize". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 29 August 2007. Retrieved 14 March 2010.