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21-1477 – Tamisha Williams

Tamisha Williams

1350 x 2050cm Digital Print
Year: 2021
21-1477

On Country (Kaalpa)

Kaalpa (Kalypa, Canning Stock Route Well 23) is a permanent water source located northeast of Kumpupirntily (Kumpupintily, Lake Disappointment). This site is a place of great cultural significance, and is also known for good hunting. Adjacent to the waterhole is a hill of the same name. The landscape around Kaalpa is parlkarra (flat country), bordered by tali (sandhills) stretching as far as Windy Corner, toward the border of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The large and dangerous Jukurrpa (Dreamtime) mosquito and fly beings partially created the landforms in this area and continue to live underground here.

At Kaalpa the Minyipuru (Jakulyukulyu, Seven Sisters) met a group of men; it was the first time either group had seen members of the opposite sex. The men were sitting down at Kaalpa doing law business when the Minyipuru arrived. They tried to grab the women, but the Minyipuru chased them, hitting them with their digging sticks and whipping them, then leaving them lying there. From Kaalpa the Minyipuru continued dancing as they travelled to Kartarru (Canning Stock Route Well 24).

Minyipuru is a central Jukurrpa narrative for Martu, Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people that is associated with the seasonal Pleiades star constellation. Relayed in song, dance, stories and paintings, Minyipuru serves as a creation narrative, a source of information relating to the physical properties of the land, and an embodiment of Aboriginal cultural laws. Beginning in Roebourne on the west coast of Western Australia, the story morphs in its movement eastward across the land, following a group of women as they walk, dance, and even fly from waterhole to waterhole. As they travel the women camp, sing, wash, dance and gather food, leaving markers in the landscape and creating landforms that remain to this day, such as groupings of rocks and trees, grinding stones and seeds. During the entirety of their journey the women are pursued by a lustful old man, Yurla, although interactions with other animals, groups of men, and spirit beings are also chronicled in the narrative.

The intersection of the Canning Stock Route with Kaalpa also made this a site of early contact with Europeans for many Martu then living a pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) life in the desert. Following the route’s construction, Martu encountered Europeans and other Martu working as cattle drovers as they would travel up and down the Stock Route from water source to water source. Increasingly, pujimanpa (desert dwellers) followed the route to newly established ration depots, mission and pastoral stations. They were drawn to the route in search of food, by a sense of curiosity, or by loneliness. By the late 1950s and early 1960s, most of the desert family groups had left the desert. Eventually, these factors combined with an extreme and prolonged drought in the 1960s to prompt the few remaining pujimanpa to move in from the desert.

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.