36 x 76 cm: acrylic on canvas
“Near Jigalong this place. There is two turkey and one kangaroo. Kipara and marlu and full moon.”
This work portrays an area known to the artist, painted here from memory. During the pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) era 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), and different varieties of warta (trees, vegetation) were carefully observed and remembered. Today, this relationship with Country remains equally strong, despite the movement of Martu out of the desert and into remote Aboriginal communities, towns and cities.
Troy has painted country near Jigalong, an 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 was converted into a camel breeding site in the 1930’s before finally becoming a Christian mission under the Apostolic Church in 1947. Old Jigalong is where the camp on Jigalong Station was situated before the present Community was built. Jigalong and its surrounding 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. From this time, they mostly 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 were reunited with family members that had already moved 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.