61 x 76 acrylic on linen
This is Nungabar’s Country- her ‘ngurra’ (home Country, camp). People identify with their ngurra in terms of specific rights and responsibilities, and the possession of intimate knowledge of the physical and cultural properties of one’s Country. Painting ngurra, and in so doing sharing the Jukurrpa (Dreaming) stories and physical characteristics of that place, has today become an important means of cultural maintenance. Nungabar’s ngurra encompasses her birthplace, near Lipuru well (Libral Well, Canning Stock Route Well 37) and the Country that became Wells 33 through to 38 along the Canning Stock Route, where her family walked in the pujiman (traditional, desert-dwelling) era. From an early age Nungabar and her family had encounters with the white men who drove cattle along the route. As a young woman, together with her close friend Nora Wompi, Nungabar followed the drovers north to Balgo Mission, where she settled and raised a family.
Portrayed in this work are features of Nungabar’s family’s ngurra, such as the striking salt lakes, permanent red tali (sandhills), warta (trees, vegetation), and the individually named water sources they camped at. Rock holes, waterholes, soaks and springs were all extremely important sites for Martu people during the pujiman period, and are generally depicted with circular forms.
The encyclopaedic knowledge of the location, quality and seasonal availability of the hundreds of water bodies found in one’s Country sustained Martu as they travelled across their Country, hunting and gathering, visiting family, and fulfilling ceremonial obligations. They would traverse very large distances annually, visiting specific areas in the dry and wet season depending on the availability of water and the corresponding cycles of plant and animal life on which hunting and gathering bush tucker was reliant. As they travelled and hunted they would also burn areas of Country, generating a greater diversity of plant and animal life.
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.