Derrick Butt Australian, b. 1976
“I ask the brother to my grandmother, and I was asking them where my grandmother born and which Country, so I could paint it. And they told me some stories and I started painting, because my grandmother left his country when he was young and didn’t manage to get back to his Country. So, I wanted to paint like part of his history, as his grandson, to tell people where my grandmother’s born, and which Country.
One day I went to Perth on the plane. And I saw the Country – I was on the window side - and I saw the Country, how different it looks when you’re walking on the land to when you’re in a plane looking down, so that gave me an idea, and that’s how I created my art. And I love painting bird’s eye view, like looking down on Country.
Sometimes you can see the land is not always brown and black. I like mixing my colours, brighter colours. That’s how I see the land, looking down on it. And people love my paintings, and how I do art. And I feel blessed that people love my art, and this is my story through my grandmother. She’s not around but I can carry her story, carry his legacy through my art.”
- Derrick Butt
Derrick was born in Derby in the Western Australian Kimberley but moved to Purngurr Community in the Pilbara region at a young age to stay with his grandmother’s side of the family. He began sketching in school at Parngurr, soon developing a strong love of art, and then learning to paint. In his late teens he moved to Newman where he started to paint again and began to showcase his work through Martumili Artists.
Derrick’s work depicts the site of Kulyakartu in his grandmother’s Country. Kulyakartu is in the far north of the Martu homelands, near the Percival Lakes region of Western Australia’s Great Sandy Desert. Kulyakartu is mostly grass Country where there is very good hunting. In particular parnajarrpa (goanna), wild cats, and lunki (witchetty grub) are found in abundance here.