29.5cm x 42cm: 150gsm Artist Paper
“This one here. Yeah. That’s Jigalong. I’ve been there. I was working there. That’s good, this one here. Stories, yeah? This one here. I was painting in Jigalong. This one’s the cars. The cars. And the houses in Jigalong. And then the sandhills, lakes. That’s the lake [points to top right-hand corner]. The lake here and the green trees, and the sandhills. We going out working, you know? We going out working to Jigalong. All the ladies, we go out. All the ladies. Yeah that’s the one, all the ladies. We work choppers. Yeah I’ve been there in Jigalong with my mum and dad long time. And the cars. We go out in that. We go out working. We just work around Jigalong, the ladies.”
– Helen Dale Samson
Jigalong Aboriginal Community, the largest of the Martu communities, is located on the western edge of the Little Sandy Desert, not far from the town of Newman. Jigalong was established in 1907 as the site for a maintenance and rations store for workmen constructing the Rabbit Proof Fence, and converted to a camel breeding site in the 1930’s before finally becoming a Christian mission under the Apostolic Church in 1947. The land was returned to the Martu in 1974.
For many Martu, Jigalong Mission was the site where their pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) lifestyle came to an end from the late 1940s as they transitioned to a life as stockmen and women working in cattle stations in the Pilbara region and beyond. In the wake of the extreme and prolonged drought of the 1960s, the last of the remaining pujimanpa (desert dwellers) were forced to move to missions like Jigalong, where a supply of food and water was assured. There, many Martu were reunited with family members that had already moved in from the desert.
Old Jigalong is where the camp on Jigalong Station was situated before the present Community was built. Dale grew up here, but would frequently camp with her family on Country during weekends. Helen Dale continues to live in Jigalong today.
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.