36 x 76 cm: acrylic on canvas
This is Kumpaya’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.
Kumpaya’s ngurra encompasses the Country that she and her family walked in the pujiman (traditional, desert-dwelling) era. At this time she travelled nomadically with her own and other family groups, traversing an enormous tract of land around the middle section of the Canning Stock Route, and between Punmu Aboriginal community and Kiwirrkura, more than 500 kilometres eastward.
Kumpaya was born close to Kiwirrkurra, a rockhole located in the Gibson Desert and to the south west of Lake McKay. She grew up, walked and hunted primarily around this area. As a young woman Kumpaya travelled westward, through to Kunawarritji (Canning Stock Route Well 33). She continued to live nomadically before eventually deciding to move to Jigalong Mission along with many other relatives following an extreme and prolonged drought in the 1960s.
Portrayed in this work are features of Kumpaya’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 Luurnkurangu, Karingkarra , Katarta, Pinkari, Pintu-pintu, Yanjiwara, Kunalimpi, Juntu-juntu (Canning Stock Route Well 30), Warla-warla (Canning Stock Route Well 31), Kunawarritji, Kinyu (Canning Stock Route Well 35), Natawalu (Canning Stock Route Well 40), and Kupankurlu. 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.
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.