About the Artist
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.
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.
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
If you need a distinctly Australian look for your marketing or products Deborah would love to hear from you.
WORKING WITH DEBORAH
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