25 x 33 cm: Ink on Arches paper
Emu Tracks to Puntawarri
“Emu go to the springs to have a drink of water and then move on to the next one.”
– Judith Anya Samson
Puntawarri is an important cultural area, as well as the site of a now abandoned community, a waterhole, creek and lake. Puntawarri is located on the middle stretches of the Canning Stock Route and east of the Jigalong Aboriginal Community, where Judith grew up with her grandmother and senior Martumili Artist Dadda Samson (dec.). Anya continues to live between Jigalong and Newman today.
Puntawarri lies within Judith’s ngurra (home Country, camp) through her mother’s family, and as a young girl she frequently travelled and hunted with her family in this area, learning the stories for this Country. Depicted in this work are the tracks of a group of emus on their way to Puntawarri waterhole, searching for kapi (water).
Karlaya (emu) were traditionally hunted during the pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) era, and they continue to be a favoured bush tucker for Martu today. 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. Jina (tracks, footprints) are used by Martu people when tracking bush tucker. In the absence of an actual animal sighting, tracks act as an identifier that an animal was present, which can then be followed to the animal’s present location. Besides providing information on location, Martu are able to interpret from tracks the passage of time since the tracks were imprinted, as well as the corresponding animal species and its size.
The softer and more extensive the ground surface, the easier it is to locate and follow tracks, thus certain conditions are favoured for tracking. Tuulparra (spring) and yalijarra (hot time) are preferred over wantajarra (winter), when south easterly tradewinds blow strongly to obscure tracks. Tracks and burrows are also more readily visible in early growth lands, such as nyurnma (freshly burnt Country) and waru-waru (growth of new shoots and young plants). For this reason, fire burning is an important tool in animal tracking. Small burns are lit to clear vegetation, expose burrows, and to allow for access to walk and track readily in exposed sands, while simultaneously providing diverse regenerating habitats.
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.