Stan Yarramunua (Dryden) is a painter as well as an entrepreneur who has opened two galleries in Melbourne and another one in Daylesford, Victoria. He is passionate about promoting his culture and helping other Indigenous artists.
Stan is the founder of Art Yarramunua Galleries in Melbourne and Daylesford. He started painting over 20 years ago by selling paintings, didgeridoos and clap sticks at markets and galleries in Melbourne.
Soon after he began representing other family members – from Mildura and Robinvale with didgeridoos, boomerangs, clap sticks, and some paintings. He would bring them down on a Friday to the Queen Victoria Market, and sell them Saturday and Sunday. This led him to building relationships and representing Victorian Aboriginal Artists.
Over many years, Stan worked in the desert and had the opportunity to build stronger relationships with Aboriginal Desert Artists, so he began representing those Aboriginal Artists in Melbourne too.
“I recently opened another gallery near Daylesford called the Yarramunua Cultural Centre. This one is in Johnson St, Fitzroy with a gallery on the bottom as well as a cultural centre offering workshops on culture – making boomerangs, teaching didgeridoo, teaching the young people about painting and culture,” Stan says.
“I have done all of this stuff by myself and with good people around me. You have to have a belief in your vision and if somebody else wants to come in and change it – you have to be prepared to say ‘no – I am going in this direction.”
“I have always done that and I have never got any handouts from the government to get where I am. No government can dictate to me my vision with my culture. If I wait for them to put their energy into me – I’d go nowhere. Waiting for someone else to give you something is not going to get you anywhere.
Stan first had his vision to buy Aboriginal art when he was on the film set of Welcome to Woop Woop in 1997.“I am a warrior from this country. When I walk on this land I know my ancestors walked on it for thousands of years, not hundreds, so why should I let them dictate to me what I want to do with my culture?”
“It was while making this film in Alice Springs. I saw a brother come in and try and sell his paintings to a gallery owner. The owner said I’ll talk to you later. His head went down in shame and I went up and I bought it. I said to myself I am going to come
back here one day and I am going to be a buyer of work by my people. I do that now,” Stan says.
He now represents a lot of major Indigenous artists including Jorna Newbury, Roma Butler, Jean Burke and Kuddtjil.
“I work with lots of them from Alice Springs, Darwin, Shepparton, Mildura and all over the place. I have a collection of Tommy Watson’s work – he is the highest paid living artist in the country,” he says.
“I have sold to all sorts of people. In the last 10 years I have noticed that more Australians are buying Aboriginal art than anyone else in the world. A lot of kids want to know about the culture of this country. The old redneck days are gone. Young people today are not stupid. They know there were Aboriginal people here before their grandfathers came here. They want to know about the oldest living culture in the world.”
Stan was also commissioned to create a gown for Miss World in China in 2007 and apart from his galleries, has done commissioned paintings for Officeworks as well as the Heart Foundation and the Intercontinental Hotel.
“You don’t have to go through the government to get anywhere – go and meet these people yourselves, but you have to have a belief in yourself when you meet these people and you can’t think it is going to happen overnight either. I have been doing this for 20 years and I have not drunk alcohol for 18 years. Gambling, alcohol and drugs – these are not my culture,” he says.
Stan is positive about the future, saying “the best is yet to come. This is just the tip of the iceberg.”
For more information about Stan or his galleries go to www.artyarramunua.com