91 x 91 cm: acrylic on linen
Tuwa (sandhills) in Puntawarri
“I do tuwa (sandhill) in my own style because that’s our Country. That’s a sandhill, that’s the Dreaming- the Jukurrpa. That’s our culture.
They stay there and we go through the sandhills at Puntawarri in the car. We go first tuwa, then the second tuwa, looking for the waterholes. Go up, up, up- ‘nother tuwa, ‘nother tuwa.
Long time [ago] in Puntawarri, when I was a little girl [with] my Nana and Pop [Dadda Samson and Yanjimi Peter Rowlands] we went climbing up the sandhill. And when I went up my Nana and Pop were at the bottom under a tree and I came down running then rolling, rolling right down to the ground! But I was ok- he right!”
– Judith Anya Samson
Puntawarri is an important cultural area located on the middle stretches of the Canning Stock Route and east of the Jigalong Mission (now Jigalong Aboriginal community), where Anya grew up with her grandmother and renowned Martumili Artist, Dadda Samson (dec.). Puntawarri is also the site of an abandoned community, a waterhole, creek and lake. Puntawarri’s close proximity to Jigalong Mission made it a popular site for Martu to visit during the ‘mission days’. While growing up at Jigalong Mission in the 1960’s, Dadda would return to Puntawarri every weekend to hunt and camp.
For many Martu, like Anya’s family, 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.
The traditional lands of the Martu people encompass the Great Sandy Desert and Rudall River regions of Western Australia, an enormous tract dominated by distinctive red tali, or tuwa (sandhills). These sandhills present an unforgiving landscape; sparse vegetation covers a seemingly never ending expanse of dunes, and yet these lands and the location of resources within them was known intimately by its pujiman inhabitants.
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.