61 x 91 cm: acrylic on linen
Depicted in this work are animals hunted for bush tucker, their habitats, and different hunting methods. During the pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) period, Martu would traverse very large distances annually in small family groups, moving seasonally from water source to water source, and hunting and gathering bush tucker as they went. Whilst desert life has moved away from mobile hunter-gatherer subsistence throughout the course of the twentieth century, bush tucker continues to be a significant component of the modern Martu diet. Hunting and gathering bush tucker remains equally valuable as an important cultural practice that is passed on intergenerationally.
Typically, animals hunted for their kuwiyi (meat) include kirti-kirti (euro kangaroo) and marlu (plains kangaroo), parnajarrpa (sand goanna), kipara (Australian bustard, bush turkey) and karlaya (emu). Lunki (witchetty grub) and wuukurta (honey ants) are dug from tree and bush trunks, or from underground nests. Tuulpara (spring) is considered by Martu as the principal hunting season, when resources are productive and the weather conducive to hunting activities requiring a high degree of stamina.
Traditional tools used for hunting were carved from wanari (mulga), mulunturu (desert oak), yurungkura (river red gum) and mijarrpa (bloodwoods), and included kurlata (spears), jurna (hitting sticks), and karli (boomerangs). Today, animals are most typically hunted using vehicles and rifles. Nonetheless, carved objects retain enormous social and ceremonial importance in Martu life. Though hunting and gathering implements have been modernised, traditional methods of tracking and the use of fire burning to drive animals from their retreats are still commonly practiced today.
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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.