Yondee (Shane Hanson) is a Noongar man from Western Australia, based in Perth. 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 or bark paintings using black and white, or bold colours, it’s gives that simple strong message.”
About the artwork
In this painting, Shane paints the Rain Man. Shamanic rainmaking ceremonies are thousands of years old and were once practised all around the world. A man or woman who had a gift or predisposition to rainmaking would be trained for many years, developing skills and a deep relationship with the elements and weather. Rainmakers were taught the practice from a young age and it was often seen as a calling, much like a medicine woman or seer. Shane paints the Rain Man as a way of calling back the traditional ways of living; connecting with nature, and taking care of the Earth.