New Works


24-459 – Matthew Mintern


1 in stock

Matthew Mintern
Acrylic on Canvas
61 x 91 cm
Year: 2024

Mungili Rock Holes

“Mungili rock hole. Big rock hole, big Country. I never see that place. My mother born [there], her and her grandmother walk through there, they tell me story [for that place]. Mother born there in the Country Mungili, walking through the bush. There is a camping spot, camping in bush – bush, bush, bush. [Points at painting] This is the lake Country and goes through there.”

Matthew Mintern Smith

In this work Matthew depicts a claypan located in Mungili, the small outstation community situated just off the Eagle Highway in Western Australia. Mungili lies approximately 430 kilometres northeast of Wiluna and 250 kilometres north of Warburton. Mungili is ngurra (home (home Country, camp) for Matthew through his mother and grandmother. He typically depicts the site with a central large circular form that represents the main claypan, surrounded by smaller circular forms symbolising satellite water bodies.

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. Country for Martu is full of memory; not just the memory of their own movement through it, but also of their family. As summarised by Ngalangka Nola Taylor, “painting the ngurra, they do it to remember their connections.” 

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. 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.  

SKU 82303390a Category Tag

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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.