New Works


24-207 – Kumpaya Girgirba, Marlene Anderson


1 in stock

Kumpaya Girgirba, Marlene Anderson

91 x 61 cm: acrylic on canvas
Year: 2024

Kun Kun (Kuny-Kuny) Kumpaya Girgirba

“My ngurra (home Country, camp) long, long time ago, Kun Kun! This is a big waterhole. In Kun Kun, my Country, all the animals are coming to drink here. Big and small kangaroos, snakes, goannas, emus, skinks – they all drinking here. Big tali (sandhills). Big ones, four of them near the waterhole.”

– Kumpaya Girgirba (Girgaba)

Kun Kun (Kuny-kuny) is a soak accessing a large body of underground water, located south east of Kunawarritji (Canning Stock Route Well 33). The site is sacred for its association with the marlu (kangaroo) Jukurrpa (Dreaming), and was an important ceremonial site during the pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) period.

Kun Kun lies within Kumpaya’s ngurra (home Country, camp), the area which she knew intimately and travelled extensively with her family in her youth. The Western Desert term ‘ngurra’ is hugely versatile in application. Broadly denoting birthplace and belonging, ngurra can refer to a body of water, a camp site, a large area of Country, or even a modern house. 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. This knowledge is traditionally passed intergenerationally through family connections. Painting ngurra, and in so doing sharing the Jukurrpa stories and physical characteristics of that place, has today become an important means of cultural maintenance. Physical maintenance of one’s ngurra, like cultural maintenance, ensures a site’s wellbeing, and is a responsibility of the people belonging to that area. 

During the pujiman period, knowledge of water sources was critical for survival, and today Martu Country is still defined in terms of the location and type of water. Each of the hundreds of claypans, rockholes, waterholes, soaks and springs found in the Martu desert homelands is known by name, location, quality and seasonal availability through real life experience and the recounting of Jukurrpa narratives. 

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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.