Doris Thomas

Yarrenyty Arltere Artists & Tangentyere Artists

Doris Thomas, also known as Arlyetilhe, was born in 1948 just south of Alice Springs at Deep Well Station, later relocating to Maryvale Station which became Titjikala Community. She joined Tangentyere Artists in 2010 after having to move to Mparntwe [Alice Springs] to receive medical treatment. Thomas is sophisticated in both mark making and composition, using her animated figures and varied colour palette to dynamically and clearly tell her stories.

Thomas paints iconic scenes from her lived experiences, providing snapshots into life on stations and in Community. These scenes lay bare the realities of being forced off one’s land and document the transition of Titjikala Community from the old days to now. Through her paintings she recounts stories from childhood; her father’s cameleering, the first tin sheds built in Titjikala and lining up for rations with a flour bag. Thomas’ paintings also capture the present day; the hive of activity at Titjikala Shop on pension day and cruising around in motorcars. Thomas also features irritja [wedge tail eagles] soaring among the clouds in her paintings, expressing that ‘they belong there, that’s their Country too’.

Thomas has exhibited widely and was finalised in the Sir John Sulman Art Prize at Art Gallery of New South Wales (2020), the Vincent Lingiari Art Award (2019) and the 41st Alice Prize National Contemporary Art Award (2020). Her work is held by the Art Gallery of South Australia, National Gallery of Victoria and Artbank and housed in many private collections.