Artist: Bugai Whyoulter
Size: 61cm x 91cm
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Story from the certificate of authenticity:
Parnngurr is an Aboriginal community located 370km east of Newman, at the Southern end of the Karlimilyi area in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Created during the Return to Country movement of the 1980's, with the recognition of Aboriginal land rights and native title, the community was named after its original primary water source, a nearby rockhole and yinta (permanent water source). Until recently the community was widely known as Cotton Creek, after the European name for the ephemeral creek running alongside the community. Parnngurr and its surrounds are physically dominated by distinctively red tali (sandhills), sparsely covered with spinifex and low lying shrub.
Historically and culturally Parnngurr was an important site for Aboriginal people during the pujiman (traditional desert dwelling) era. In the epic jukurrpa (dreamtime) story of the Jakulyukulyu or Minyipuru (Seven Sisters) the sisters stop to rest on the adjacent Parnngurr hill before continuing on their long journey east. Throughout the pujiman period families stopped and camped here depending on the seasonal availability of water and the corresponding cycles of plant and animal life on which hunting and gathering bush tucker was reliant. At Parnngurr and other similarly significant camp sites families would meet for a time before moving to their next destination.
Parnngurr is Bugai's father's Country, as well as her own ngurra (home country). She was born nearby, close to what is now Balfour Downs Station and travelled extensively through the Parnngurr area and up and down the Canning Stock Route as far as Kunawarritji in her youth. For Bugai, Parrngurr also signifies the location at which her nomadic bush life came to an end. It was here that she and her group were picked up by white fellas to be taken to Jigalong Mission in 1963. Collectively the group had come to the decision to move to the mission as a result of an extended drought, which had caused a scarcity in food and water resources.
Martumili Artists was established in late 2006 and supports Martu artists in Kunawarritji, Punmu, Parnngurr, Jigalong, Warralong, Irrungadji (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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