New Works


22-1158 – Jenny Butt


1 in stock

Jenny Butt

61 x 91 cm: acrylic on canvas
Year: 2022

Land meet water

“It was really meant to be about my family, that went from the desert and live in the coast. Like for the Mangala (that’s my grandfather and dads language), Juwaliny, Nyangumarta and Yulparija (that’s my grandmother language and is known as Nangajarra). And my grandmother is the oldest sister of Muuki (Taylor) and Nola (Taylor). Growing up in Bidgy (Bidyadanga Community) with the rest of the family. Especially old people. We use to go out hunting with them along the marsh. Hunting for rough tale goanna, when its in season. Looking for jilalka, it’s the same a wamila. The name of bush tomato. When it’s salmon season, it’s the season for going fishing. Living off the land and living off the sea.”

– Jenny Butt

This work portrays an area of Country that can be interpreted in multiple ways. Firstly, the image may be read as an aerial representation of a particular location known to the artist- either land that they or their family travelled, from the pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) era to now. During the pujiman 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. At this time, one’s survival depended on their intimate knowledge of the location of resources; thus physical elements of Country, such as sources of kapi (water), tali (sandhills), different varieties of warta (trees, vegetation), ngarrini (camps), and jina (tracks) are typically recorded with the use of a use of a system of iconographic forms universally shared across the desert. 

An additional layer of meaning in the work relates to more intangible concepts; life cycles based around kalyu (rain, water) and waru (fire) are also often evident. A thousands of year old practice, fire burning continues to be carried out as both an aid for hunting and a means of land management today. As the Martu travelled and hunted they would burn tracts of land, ensuring plant and animal biodiversity and reducing the risk of unmanageable, spontaneous bush fires. The patchwork nature of regrowth is evident in many landscape works, with each of the five distinctive phases of fire burning visually described with respect to the cycle of burning and regrowth.  

Finally, metaphysical information relating to a location may also be recorded; Jukurrpa (Dreaming) narratives chronicle the creation of physical landmarks, and can be referenced through depictions of ceremonial sites, songlines, and markers left in the land. Very often, however, information relating to Jukurrpa is censored by omission, or alternatively painted over with dotted patterns.

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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.