Yuriandialli artist Jim Stanley was born on 8 March 1927 and is the second of twelve children to Alexander “Digger” Stanley and Rachel Munro.
The Stanley family is a prominent Aboriginal family in the Moree district. “Digger” Stanley served in both world wars and on returning after these years in service did a lot of work in the Aboriginal movement around Moree. His parents moved from traditional Kamilaroi land at Terri-Hie-Hie to the mission on the east of Moree, where he attended school for six years. The top mission in Moree is named in honour of the Stanley Family, “Stanley Village”.
An allergy to sheep shortened his shearing career, so he graduated from gardening to droving from which he earned ten bob a day. He finally settled to work on the railways until he was involved in a car accident in 1985. At the wheel of his car, en route to Mungindi to deliver Christmas presents, a speeding driver hurtled out of a dusty sidetrack, causing Jim to roll his car.
The aftermath saw Jim confined firstly to an iron lung, and ultimately to a wheelchair, with scant use of both his hands. On the road to recovery Jim sat for hours looking out of the Moree Hospital windows, overlooking the river and the trees that line the river. There he started to paint landscapes.
Jim Stanley is vitally involved in recording and telling the history and heritage of the Kamilaroi people, particularly the stories of the missions surrounding Moree and the families that moved to Moree from Terri-Hie-Hie.
Jim is an elder of the Moree Aboriginal community and he is widely repected for his art and his knowledge. He is a widower, with four children, and a large extended family. A deeply spiritual Christian, he has remarkable skill at depicting the mystique of the dreamtime stories on canvas in a unique style.
Fate is a funny thing, is a quote from Jim Stanley, as he sits and reflects on his life in Moree and his dream to paint and tell the history of the Kamilaroi people.
Interested in art from school days Jim Stanley has featured in 10 exhibitions at the Moree Plains Gallery in the past ten years, including a two-man exhibition with Lawrence Leslie. He has exhibited with many well-knwon Australian artists such as Ken Done, Aarone Raymond Meeks and has caught the eye of many prominent artists especially John Olsen. Jim Stanley’s work features prominently in the Moree Plains Gallery permanent collection and that of the Moree Plains Shire Council. Jim’s work is also held in many private collections around the country. The painting Top Camp Along the River was included in the Waterways exhibition at the Maritime Museum of Australia in Sydney in 2002.
Coyright 2003-2007 Neil Murphy Indigenous Art
Thomas Vroom Collection, Amsterdam, NL on loan to Aboriginal Art Museum, Utrecht, NL
Moree Plains Regional Gallery