Hector Jandany (c.1927-2006)
At the time of his death in 2007, Hector Jandany was the oldest member of the Warmun artists, at Turkey Creek. His family history was littered with harrowing tales of persecution. Gadiya (white people) shot his grandfather and harmed his grandmother, who subsequently died in childbirth and, while Hector was still in infancy, his father also died in confrontation with white people. Though his mother remarried a stockman, whom Hector admired, it was his mother’s country, the Bungle Bungles (Purnululu), that became the primary source of his artistic inspiration when he took up painting late in his life.
Hector’s decision to become an artist sprang indirectly from his work with the Bough Shed School, which opened in 1979 at Warmun, and of which Hector became the director. It was here that he encouraged two-way learning, maintaining a firm belief in his instinctive knowledge of country whist having adopted a strong Christian belief. 'White people read things, but I can feel what’s right and wrong, in my heart. I have that inside feeling, but the white man - the paper tells him' (cited in Rothwell 2004: 6).
Hector began painting with the establishment of the Waringarri Aboriginal Arts in Kununurra in the late 1980’s and continued a decade later after the Warmun Arts Centre began operating out of the old post-office building at Turkey Creek, the community in which he was born. Here he would sit, an inspiration and delight to anyone who found the time to just sit and enjoy his company and humour. He would build the surface of his canvass slowly and carefully by applying soft earth colours, pink, greens, greys and later introducing warm browns, reds and blacks. He gained renown for quirky figurative depictions and irregular hill formations rendered with an innate sense of spacial geometry. He treated the surface of his work as if it were sacred, touching and rubbing his hand gently across it reverently. Watching him use a stone to rub, sand and smooth the thin washes of softly coloured earth pigment that had been mixed from rocks gathered and carefully ground in the surrounding environment, made one feel as if he believed the painting to be the country itself.