Rabbit Proof Fence - 61cm x 91cm

Artist: Judith Anya Samson

Size: 61cm x 91cm

Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Story from the certificate of authenticity:
"I painted the Rabbit Proof Fence and the tracks of the emus. They cant get through because the gate is closed. If they cant get through they go back to the sand hills. We still see that Rabbit Proof Fence out there, it goes to Jilakurru then to Jigalong, long one, and it's a bit broken now. The three girls passed through Jilakurru going to Jigalong. Everybody likes that story in Jigalong, I like painting that story."
-Judith Anya Samson

In 1931 sisters Molly Craig, Daisy Kadibil and Gracie Fields, were taken from their families, like many other Aboriginal children at that time, and transported to Moore River Native Settlement, north of Perth. They were taken away in the belief that part-Aboriginal children should be trained as domestic servants.

The three girls escaped the next day and, incredibly, walked 1600 kilometres home to Jigalong using the Rabbit Proof Fence to navigate. The Rabbit Proof Fence remains the world's longest fence, and was built in the early 1900s to separate rabbits from pasture. For nine weeks, the girls followed its length in order to be reunited with their family. They crossed a flooded river, sand dunes, heathlands, wheatbelts and plains, claypans and salt lakes. They slept in dug-out rabbit burrows, and caught and cooked rabbits, along with other plant based bush tucker. For the duration of their journey they were pursued by policeman and an Aboriginal police tracker.

The girls' story has been immortalized in the novel "Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence" by Doris Pilkington (Nugi Garimara, 1996), and was adapted into the film "Rabbit Proof Fence" (2002). This story retains special significance for the Martu, and in particular those inhabitants of Jigalong Aboriginal community. The three girls were Martu, and their children and grandchildren continue to live in the Martu homelands today. Judith grew up with her grandparents in Jigalong.

"That is the Rabbit Proof Fence that went to Jigalong. The three girls were taken from their mother in Jigalong and put in a dormitory. They stayed there for a while and then they ran away back to Jigalong. They ran away from the dormitory and the tracker followed them along the fence to Jigalong." - Dadda Samson

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 Dandy Desert and Rudall River regions of Western Australia. Martumili Artists represent speakers of Manyjilyjarra, Warnman, kartujarra, Putijarra and Martu Wangka languages, many of whom experienced first contact with Europeans in the 1960's. 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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