Johnathon World Peace Bush

Identifies as: A Tiwi man from Andranangoo (Goose Creek) and Borroloola​
Language/Language group: ​Tiwi​​
Instagram: @jilamaraartsandcrafts

Johnathon World Peace Bush lived for many years in Borroloola working as a stockman at an outstation herding horse and cattle. Johnathon’s father is from Borroloola and his mother is from Milikapiti on the Tiwi Islands. He moved back to Milikapiti to be with his mother’s family and to spend time with his daughter. Johnathon is part of the Bush family, whose country is Andranangoo (Goose Creek), east of where Milikapiti sits on the north coast of Melville Island. He started working at Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association in 2015, after being encouraged to start painting by his brother artist Kenny Brown.

Johnathon World Peace Bush’s ochre paintings present a unique combination of Tiwi culture and his personal views on global politics, family and cultural heritage. He adopts some painting techniques that reflect jilamara (Tiwi body paint design) and combines them with representations of political figureheads, stories of colonial crimes against Indigenous people or adaptations of old anthropological images made of the Tiwi. He uses natural ochres that are sourced from Melville Island to make these compositions in the three colours of Tiwi land kurrujupuni, arrikininga, yarringa (white, yellow, red).

In the last few years, Johnathon has been gaining increased recognition for his unique painting style, his political views as well as his poetry and lyrics. His work is held in the collection at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and has had multiple paintings selected as a significant contemporary contribution to the current TIWI exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). He is featured in the associated publication edited by Judith Ryan, Senior Curator of Indigenous Art, and his work has been collated by the NGV.

Original Action


I hope my artwork gives a glimpse into my strong beliefs of a want for world peace and equality for all humankind: ‘This time is your time. It is time for you to talk big. You need to fight to keep culture alive.’ I remember my older male ancestors saying this to me. They have all passed away now, but they have left work for me to do…it is important to link the past to the present for healthy future regeneration. Like a chain reaction. To fix up a family tree you have to go down to the roots and into the past. Love is the fruit of good family. I work for a future that is bright and where everything will be alright.

Today is the day, today is our brand new day. Get up and stand for treaty now. I am the world peace.

I fight for treaty for all of us. Treaty for you, treaty for me, treaty for everyone in this world. Yes, this one world.

Johnathon World Peace Bush, World Peace Treaty, 2018, detail, screen print. Courtesy the artist and Jilamara Arts









Penrith Regional Gallery, 2022

52 ACTIONS, 2022. Installation view, Penrith Regional Gallery, Sydney. Photo: Document Photography

Wangaratta Art Gallery, 2023

Johnathon World Peace Bush, 2018. Installation views, 52 ACTIONS, Wangaratta Art Gallery, Wangaratta. Photos: Marc Bongers

Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, 2023

Johnathon World Peace Bush, 2018. Installation views, 52 ACTIONS, Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, 2023