New Works


19-71 – Lily Long


1 in stock

Lily Long

61 x 91 cm: acrylic on canvas
Year: 2019


“This Karlamilyi area, big land. That’s a ngurra (home Country, camp) belonging to our old people, Warnman people. We talk for our land, our jila (snake). I grew up in this Country, my Country. This land belongs to our father. In pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) days I walked around here, used to walk up and down tuwa (sandhill) and back to the main camp belonging to Martu. 

That river running through, he called Pirnpi. Whitefella way is Rudall River. There’s a bird, karuwarlkun (magpie), flying and singing everywhere in the Rudall River there. The river is flowing to Lake Dora, it has five waterholes in the river system. Outside of the river are creeks and gullies, the salt lake, Lake Dora, and the sand dunes.

There’s a claypan there too, big claypan, close to Walirrlirri. Pangkartal we call him. There’s a big rain there, rain time. Fill him up water when the rain time comes. Snake living there in Pangkartal, big one. He [the snake] going to listen to the owner of the land. When we sing out to him in a Warnman way, we tell him “Stop, don’t get cheeky. We coming in [to the land].” He not cheeky, he a good one. Quiet snake.

At Nyayartakujarra (Lake Dora), [in the north east of the region,] two snakes been killed. Right here they got crook in the Dreamtime. All the men, Ngaanyatjarra and Warnman, they were singing. One young fella, he threw a spear into the snake. That snake felt something there, got killed and burned.

[West of Nyayartakujarra is] Yanytikuji, red hill over there. They working, doing the mining there now [at Yandicoogina Mine]. Next to Yanytikuji is a big claypan, Yalpalpa, main camp and a water. That’s a hunting place. Plenty of bush tucker round there; kanyjamarra (yam, bush carrot), like a carrot growing in the ground in the river bed there. You pull it out, just like a carrot! Lunki (witchetty grub), and jatarrpa, that’s like a seed, you gotta clean him up and grind it to make a flour wheat, make a damper in the waru (fire). We gonna get that seed and show you fellas. Minyarra (bush onion) there, and ngaputa (sweet, patterned green melon), they all grow in the river banks.

In the middle is Putarrluu, a yinta (permanent spring) where there are two snakes, a man and a woman snake. They are nyupa (partners), they stop here, it is their yinta. You can’t camp right at the big yinta because of the snakes. You have to get your water from the little soak. When we want to get water we talk to the snakes in Warnman, their language, and the snakes send the water to them.  

This one Wartararra area, [south of Yanytikuji,] but you can’t go through there. This one Pulikati [Hill] area, we used to go through a gap here. There is quicksand here. People don’t go there. We used to sing out for this water, from this side. The old people used to sing out to “Come on, send the water for me.” You can’t go through there, quicksand, not allowed.

Tintinmarran, bottom end of Rudall River [and southeast of Pulikati. There is a januku (waterfall) there, a big yapu (hill), two tuwa (sandhills), and jawirli (quondong) trees. All of the rivers run down through Tintinmarran before joining Rudall River. After all the kapi (water) joins the Rudall River it runs to Warnanjarra where it disappears underground and goes all the way up north to Derby.

I [Jatarr Lily Long] was born there in Karlamilyi River, that’s my Country. [I was born in] Jatarrngara, that’s the name for the place and that’s my name. That’s the living water place.

We are Warnman ladies, painting Kintyre and Karlamilyi. We can share this Country.”

 –Sisters Wurta Amy French and Jatarr Lily Long

Karlamilyi (Rudall River) is Warnman Country, located in the very heart of the Martu homelands. The Karlamilyi region is ngurra for sisters Wurta Amy French and Jatarr Lily Long. They travelled and camped extensively around this area with their family in their youth, and possess a great deal of knowledge of the region’s physical elements, resource distribution, and Jukurrpa (Dreaming) narratives.

The region is situated southwest of the Great Sandy Desert and northeast of the Little Sandy Desert. Spanning through the region is the epic Karlamilyi River, which runs north into Nyayartakujarra (Lake Dora), a large salt lake. The Broadhurst and Fingoon Ranges extend diagonally across the river’s path. The landscape is striking for its abundance of gorges and valleys carved by ice age glaciers, rugged cliffs, red tali (sand dunes), grasslands, sandstone and quartz rocky outcrops, and salt lakes. 

Across the whole region are hundreds of water sources; including waterholes, creeks, soaks, lakes, pools and rockholes. Lining the rivers are coolabah, walyji (river gum), yulbah (bats wing coral tree), and several species of acacia and hakea. Jalkuran (paperbark), kurrulyu/ mijarrpa (bloodwood) and jawirli (quandong) are found in the region’s valleys, and wikirrpa (desert oaks) and grasses in the sandplains. The area is abundant with bird species, jila, maruntu (goannas), red kangaroos and warlpaju (rock wallabies). The region is also home to remote aboriginal communities Punmu and Parnngurr.

According to two of the central Martu Jukurrpa narratives, the Karlamilyi River and its surrounds were created by the ancestral beings Jila Kujarra (Two Snakes) and the Wati Kujarra (Two Goanna Men) as they travelled across the lands.

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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.