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Yondee Shane Hansen

"Shell Middens" by YONDEE Shane Hansen


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Size: 160 x 100 cm

Medium: Acrylic on Linen

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Renowned Noongar artist Yondee Shane Hansen was born in the southwestern region of Western Australia in 1964, specifically in Dumbleyung, located 270 km south of Perth. His father imparted knowledge of hunting and the creation of sand drawings, while his visits to his aunties on the Swan River involved the collection of paper bark to aid in their artistic endeavors. These experiences formed the foundation of his artistic education, as his older relatives, known for their paper bark paintings, became his initial instructors.

Addressing his current artistic practice, Yondee Shane Hansen stated, "I create sand paintings by collecting sand from the creeks. The sand, once washed to remove salt, exhibits a smoother texture from the creeks. After multiple washes and sieving, when mixed with paint, it becomes suitable for use. The combination of black and white sand in my paintings conveys a simple yet powerful message."

As a seasoned artist, Yondee Shane Hansen has developed techniques to utilize sand and ochres in depicting the narratives and legends of his people. In addition to these traditional representations, he also produces detailed figurative works encompassing themes such as mission life, hunting, and animals. Despite the abstract nature of his works, they remain narrative in essence. Yondee, having acquired his grandfather's knowledge of ground paintings during childhood, aspires to preserve and elevate these art forms. He holds the belief that translating them into sand paintings not only does justice to their origins but also extends their reach to new audiences. The artist's bush name, Yondee, translates to Black Goanna.

Yondee Shane Hansen has collaborated with the Campfire group of Aboriginal artists in Brisbane and has showcased his artwork in galleries across Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, and internationally, including the United States, the Czech Republic, and Ireland.

About the Painting

Midden Shells served as a dietary mainstay for both freshwater and saltwater tribes. Coastal shell middens contain the remains of shellfish eaten by Aboriginal people. They can consist of the shells from a single meal or many different meals eaten in the same location over many years.

They can also contain the remains of a more varied diet including fish, seal and kangaroo. Charcoal and hearth stones from fires as well as other cultural items such as stone and bone artefacts can also be present.