New Works


21-1483 – Billy Atkins (dec.)


1 in stock

Billy Atkins (dec.)

122 x 76 cm: acrylic on linen
Year: 2021


This is Yunkurra’s Country- his ‘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. 

Yunkurra’s ngurra encompasses his birthplace, Palatji (Palarji, Weld Springs, Canning Stock Route Well 9), and the Country that he and his family walked in the pujiman (traditional, desert-dwelling) era. Yunkurra grew up, walked and hunted primarily around the areas surrounding Kumpupirntily (Lake Disappointment), Kupayura (Savory Creek) and Jilukurru (Killagurra Springs, Canning Stock Route Well 17). Eventually, as a ‘young fella’ he, like most other Martu at the time, began working on pastoral stations around the Pilbara, ‘mustering bullock, sheep too.’ In later life Yunkurra relocated to Jigalong Aboriginal community, closer to his home Country. 

Portrayed in this work are features of Yunkurra’s ngurra, such as the striking salt lakes, dominant permanent red tali (sandhills), warta (trees, vegetation), and the individually named water sources he and his family 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.

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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.