Thelma Dundan (Dunjan) Judson
46 x 76 cm: acrylic on canvas
This is Ngarga’s Country- her ‘ngurra’ (home Country, camp). People identify with their ngurra in terms of specific rights and responsibilities, and the possession of intimate knowledge of the physical and cultural properties of one’s Country. Painting ngurra, and in so doing sharing the Jukurrpa (Dreaming) stories and physical characteristics of that place, has today become an important means of cultural maintenance.
Ngarga’s ngurra encompasses the Country that she and her family walked in the pujiman (traditional, desert-dwelling) era. She grew up, walked and hunted primarily around the Percival Lakes region as a young girl, travelling with her mother, siblings, and extended family. She lived nomadically before her family was persuaded to move to Jigalong Mission in 1963 by staff from the Native Welfare Department in 1963. Hers was one of the last families to leave the desert.
Portrayed in this work are features of Ngarga’s ngurra, such as the striking salt lakes, dominant permanent red tali (sandhills), warta (trees, vegetation), and the individually named water sources she and her family camped at. These include Wirnpa, Yimiri, Jaramarra, Kurturarra, Karily-karily, Kiriwirri, Kupankurlu, Linyjalangu, Ngurtukurangu, and Milkarra. Rock holes, waterholes, soaks and springs were all extremely important sites for Martu people during the pujiman period, and are generally depicted with circular forms.
The encyclopaedic knowledge of the location, quality and seasonal availability of the hundreds of water bodies found in one’s Country sustained Martu as they travelled across their Country, hunting and gathering, visiting family, and fulfilling ceremonial obligations. They would traverse very large distances annually, visiting specific areas in the dry and wet season depending on the availability of water and the corresponding cycles of plant and animal life on which hunting and gathering bush tucker was reliant. As they travelled and hunted they would also burn areas of Country, generating a greater diversity of plant and animal life
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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.