New Works


Cuppatea with Wendy Nanji

Artist Wendy Nanji at the exhibition opening of 'Following in footsteps'.

Hi Wendy, What’s happening in Newman today?

I’m in the gallery now they are painting the walls for the upcoming exhibition.  ‘Following in footsteps,’ it’s looking good! It’s a beautiful cloudy day here, I’m looking out at boomerang oval from the gallery and it’s nice and green.

I know today you are having a coffee, do you drink tea too? 

Today I’m having iced coffee. Tea makes you full so I don’t drink it all the time.  When I do I have it white, 3 tea bags, big camping cup and 2 sugars!

How did you get involved with Martumili?

I first remember meeting Amy and Corban mob many years ago at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair.  I was there with Spinifex Hill Studio.  I used to work and paint there. I’ve just come to Newman last year, it’s nice, beautiful. I’m here catching up with family. I grew up in Jigalong. Nice to come back and work with Corban mob at Martumili.  

What does a typical day at Martumili look like?

I come in give them (everyone) a big happy smile, it makes everyone happy. I have my morning coffee, do some stretching then finish my painting off. I’m good at stretching, getting the hang of it. I like doing it. I do priming, one layer, another layer. I stretch the canvas in the big shed, got that big fan but it’s pretty hot still!  

I hear you are also an artist?

I am, I like to paint all sorts. I used to paint witchetty grubs now I paint honey ants. I paint all kinds of things. I’m good at landscapes too. I worry too much about the world so I paint my feelings. I come here and paint, it makes me happy. I’m still learning to mix paints but I like it. When I’m painting I think about what my step is going to be. One day I want to make a big one like Corban and Gladys.

I used to paint at Spinifex Hill Studio, I was in Revealed in Fremantle! I did self-portraits with pencils for that, I also did photography for the Pujiman exhibition. I love that, I want to do more!

How did you learn to paint?

I learnt to paint growing up, at my school, walking through the art centre when I was a kid and seeing all the old people paint. My aunty in Wiluna taught me too, family everywhere painting.

What’s next for you?  What are your dreams?

I like working hard. Maybe hospitality, have my own business one day. Helping community out. My uncle trained me to look after cars, I’d like to be able to tow people’s cars one day!

Words by Zoe Martyn in conversation with Wendy Nanji.

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Martumili Artists warns visitors that our website includes images and artworks of Artists who have passed away which may cause distress to some Indigenous people.

Martumili Artists acknowledges the Nyiyaparli and Martu people as the Traditional Owners of the land we live and work on. We also acknowledge the Traditional Owners throughout our country and our Elders; past, present and emerging.