New Works


24-528 – Bianca Simpson


1 in stock

Bianca Simpson

46 x 61 cm
Year: 2024

Wirlarra (Wilarra)

Wirlarra, the site depicted in this painting, lies on the eastern edge of a large salt lake, Nyayartakujarra (Lake Dora), near Punmu Aboriginal community. A distinctive group of small salt water pools are clustered together here. The water from these pools is known for its’ powerful healing properties, and the pools are still visited today by Martu to bathe cuts and sores. 

Wirlarra is also a term for ‘moon’ in Manyjilyjarra, and through the site’s Jukurrpa (Dreaming) narrative, the site is united with the moon in significance. It is said that at Wirlarra, the moon called to a family of dingoes; a mother, father and their large litter of dingo pups. The dingoes gathered at Wirlarra, where the moon cared for them and created a windbreak for the family to shelter. Here the dingoes scratched at the surface of the salt lake and created the cluster of salt water pools located there today. They lay down there. After a time, the dingoes continued travelling eastward toward the rising moon until they reached Kinyu (Well 35 on the Canning Stock Route), where they remained until all of the dingo pups had grown up. From Kinyu the family travelled further east with the moon.

Rawa is a soak and spring located along the eastern edge of the large salt lake, Nyayartakujarra (Lake Dora), and at the western edge of Punmu Aboriginal community, 670km northeast of Newman. Surrounding Rawa are numerous fresh water soaks and the permanent red tali (sandhills) typical of the area. 

During the pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) period, Martu would traverse very large distances annually in small family groups, moving seasonally from water source to water source, and hunting and gathering bush tucker as they went. At this time 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 (Dreaming) narratives.

Rawa features as a resting place for the Minyipuru (Jakulyukulyu, Seven Sisters) during the Jukurrpa period. Minyipuru is a central Jukurrpa narrative for Martu, Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people that is associated with the seasonal Pleiades star constellation. Relayed in song, dance, stories and paintings, Minyipuru serves as a creation narrative, a source of information relating to the physical properties of the land, and an embodiment of Aboriginal cultural laws. Beginning in Roebourne on the west coast of Western Australia, the story morphs in its movement eastward across the land, following the women as they walk, dance, and even fly from waterhole to waterhole. As they travel the women camp, sing, wash, dance and gather food, leaving markers in the landscape and creating landforms that remain to this day, such as groupings of rocks and trees, grinding stones and seeds. During the entirety of their journey the women are pursued by a lustful old man, Yurla, although interactions with other animals, groups of men, and spirit beings are also chronicled in the narrative.

SKU 82306120a Category

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.