Yondee (Shane Hanson) is a Noongar man from Western Australia. He was born in 1964 in Dumbleyung, 270 km south of Perth. The name Dumbleyung is derived from the Aboriginal word 'Dambeling' meaning large lake and refers to the lake nearby which is the largest in south west WA. Yondee remembers this lake as a child and being told stories of the Wagal (rainbow snake).
He was told about hunting and shown sand drawings by his father. Around the age of ten he would travel and visit his aunties on the Swan River and would collect paper bark to help them in their art work. It was here that he started to learn about art from his older relatives who are known for their painting on paper bark.
He is an experienced and accomplished artist who is developing a way of working with sand and ochres to depict the stories and legends of his people. He also paints detailed figurative works based on mission life, hunting and animals. His works are abstract in their presentation but narrative in their content. He wishes to continue the stories of his grandfather. He learnt these stories and images as ground paintings, so he feels the translation of them to sand paintings does them justice and brings them to new audiences.
Talking about his art practice today, Yondee Shane Hansen says: “I make sand paintings, collecting sand from the creeks. You have to wash it to get the salt out, but the sand is different out of the creeks, its smoother, it’s good to use. When I make sand paintings using black and white, or bold colours, it’s gives a simple strong message.”
In this painting, Shane paints the Song Lines. Song lines are one of the many aspects of Aboriginal culture that artists draw on for inspiration. They are the long Creation story lines that cross the country and put all geographical and sacred sites into place in Aboriginal culture. For Shane, they are both inspiration and important cultural knowledge. He paints the song lines with the hope of handing down the knowledge and lore of his past generations and ancestors.