Artist: Bugai Whyoulter
Size: 76cm x 76cm
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Story from the certificate of authenticity:
This is Bugai's Country - her 'ngurra' (home Country). 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. Painting ngurra, and in so doing sharing the jukurrpa (dreamtime) stories and physical characteristics of that place, has today become an important means of cultural maintenance.
This painting represents the Country Bugai lived in and walked through with her family in her youth. She traversed the area from Pukayiyirna, where she was born near to what is now Balfour Downs Station, all around the Parnngurr area and up and down the Canning Stock Route as far as Kunawarritji (Well 33 0n the Canning Stock Route).
Portrayed are features of Martu Country, such as the dominant tali (sandhills), warta (trees, vegetation), and water sources. Rock holes, waterholes, soaks and springs were all extremely important sites for Martu people during the pujiman (traditional, desert-dwelling) period. The encyclopedic 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 was established in late 2006 and supports Martu artists in Kunawarritji, Punmu, Parnngurr, Jigalong, Warralong, Irrungadi (Nullagine) and Parnpajinya (Newman). Many Martu artists have close relationships with established artists amongst Yulparija, Kukatja and other Western Desert peoples and are now gaining recognition in their own right for their diverse, energetic and unmediated painting styles. Their works reflect the dramatic geography and scale of their homelands in the Great Sandy Desert and Rudall River regions of Western Australia. Martumili Artists represents speakers of Manyjilyjarra, Warnman, Kartujarra, Putijarra and Martu Wangka languages, many of whom experienced first contact with Europeans in the 1960s. The artists include painters, working in acrylics and oils, as well as weavers coiling baskets and sculptors working in wood, grass and wool. Martu artists proudly maintain their creative practices whilst pursuing social and cultural obligations across the Martu homelands.
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