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P.O. Box 57
Byford, WA 6122

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About the Artist

Deborah Newenham

Deborah Newenham


Deborah Newenham is a self-taught Aboriginal artist. Her colourful paintings and bright designs shimmer with the energy of the bush.

Deborah’s inspiration comes from living creatures, birds and animals telling stories about our connection with nature and life under the sea.

Deborah’s traditional yet contemporary style reflects her journey and the importance of family and community in the modern world.

Take a look at the awesome original paintings in Deborah’s online gallery


A rich Noongar heritage

Born in Fremantle, Western Australia, Deborah’s Noongar ancestry comes from her mother’s side.

Noongar means “a person of the south-west of Western Australia”. The Noongars are one of the largest Aboriginal cultural blocks in Australia.

Deborah’s father is from Holland. He came out to Australia after the Second World War with his mother and brother to make a new start after his father passed away.


Passion to paint

Deborah discovered her passion for painting when she was pregnant with her fifth child in 1993. At that time Deb was working under the name Deborah Newenham-Coertse.

Success as an Aboriginal artist painting “everything and anything” took her by surprise.

After moving back home to WA from QLD I got bored and started painting gumnuts. I turned them into keyrings, got up a bit of a mixed supply of painted products and went to test the local shops in Perth. The first shop I went to bought the lot.

A business is born

Soon Deborah was designing, manufacturing and wholesaling aboriginal souvenirs for the national and international tourist markets.

After eight years, however, Deborah felt the passion had turned off. Time to move on. Seven years working in the Perth office of the department of the Attorney General in Aboriginal Service Directorate followed.


The rebirth of passion

A car accident was the catalyst for Deborah’s return to painting. After four difficult years of chronic pain and major depression, Deborah started painting again.

I painted some loose canvases and took them to a shop, and they bought the lot. I did this a few times and thought, no not the hard way again. I need to license this stuff.

That’s when Deborah took her husband’s advice, reviving the YirraKurl brand. 


From painting gumnuts to commercial success

As an Aboriginal artist Deborah now offers her unique designs for license to

  • Corporations
  • Businesses
  • Individuals

If you need a distinctly Australian look for your marketing or products Deborah would love to hear from you.  



Non-Indigenous and Indigenous artists, art workers or other interested parties may wish to: 

  • collaborate with Deborah as an artist;
  • include works by Deborah in an exhibition; 
  • organise an exhibition of work by Deborah or a group of artists;
  • include an image of a work by Deborah in a publication;
  • include Deborah as a speaker on a panel; 
  • invite Deborah to address an interest group or students; 
  • involve Deborah as a speaker in a professional development program; or 
  • interview Deborah as part of research or journalistic activity