A talented senior artist from Warmun Art Centre, Shirley Purdie, has been named the Aboriginal Person of the Year in the 2008 East Kimberley Aboriginal Achievement Awards.

Held in Kununurra in September, the awards are an opportunity to reward the effort and successions of Aboriginal people.

Ms Purdie, whose artwork has been showcased worldwide, was recognised for being an inspirational role model and enriching cultural diversity. She was also recognised for providing support and being active in her community.

The talented artist is well known for using richly textured natural earth pigments on canvas, that are collected from her own country. Her artwork has a style of its own, and Ms Purdie is renowned for her ability to blend superb ochre colours, particularly pale blue colours.

Also an adept sculptor, she uses jarlaloo wood and boab nuts to carve sculptures of animals found in Gija country. The carvings are then painted over with ochre colour.

Ms Purdie is actively involved in the community by sharing her unique art techniques with younger artists, as well as those that are more established.

Inspired by older Warmun artists including her mother Madigan Thomas, as well as famous artists such as Rover Thomas and Queenie McKenzie, Ms Purdie first began to paint her country in the early 1990s.

She has received other prestigious awards including the 56th Blake Prize for Religious Art in 2007 and a 1999 Special Commendation at the East Kimberley Art Awards.