Canning Stock Route and Surrounding Country
Artist(s): Kumpaya Girgaba, Ngamayu Ngamaru Bidu, Mitutu Mabel Wakarta, Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Thelma Judson, Marjorie Yates, Jugarda Dulcie Gibbs, Yuwali Janice Nixon, Mantararr Rosie Williams, Nyangapa Nora Nangapa, Bugai Whylouter, Nora Wompi, Jakayu Biljabu, Morika Biljabu
Date created: 2008
Art Centre(s): Martumili Artists
Medium: acrylic on canvas
Artwork Story: Kumpaya Girgaba laid out the initial design for this painting, which all the artists collaboratively customised and elaborated. When the painting was nearing completion, Kumpaya called out the names of all the waterholes depicted here. This painting, which was produced by 14 women artists at Kunawarritji (Well 33), represents a stretch of Country crossed by the Canning Stock Route. It depicts a number of the waterholes that were made into wells, but many other permanent and ephemeral water sources are also included. When the Canning Stock Route was in use as a droving highway, many of the artists relied on these other waters to ensure their safe passage through this contested land.
Place of creation: Well 33
Artwork copyright: ©2013 Kumpaya Girgaba, Ngamayu Ngamaru Bidu, Mitutu Mabel Wakarta, Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Thelma Judson, Marjorie Yates, Jugarda Dulcie Gibbs, Yuwali Janice Nixon, Mantararr Rosie Williams, Nyangapa Nora Nangapa, Bugai Whylouter, Nora Wompi, Jakayu Biljabu, Morika Biljabu
Catalogue ID: KG/NB/MW/NT/TJ/MY/DG/JN/RW/NN/BW/NW/JB/MB/201/MM
Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on use
Photographer: Jason McCarthy
Photograph date: 2008-06-09
Photography copyright: National Museum of Australia
Artist(s) biography: Kumpaya Girgaba born about 1945 Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group Parnngurr community Martumili Artists A respected law woman and cultural leader, Kumpaya was born near Kiwirrkurra and grew up around the Canning Stock Route. For many years her family avoided contact with Europeans, but eventually they moved to Jigalong mission to join their relatives. Kumpaya learned how to paint and weave baskets while visiting family in Balgo, Fitzroy Crossing and Patjarr. She is credited with introducing these skills to Martu people. Ngamayu Ngamaru Bidu born about 1950 Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group Parnngurr community Martumili Artists Ngamayu grew up around Pitu. As a child, she encountered surveyor Len Beadell, who was grading roads near Well 22. He gave Ngamayu and her siblings fruit. Not realising that it was meant to be eaten raw, they cooked the fruit until it was completely dried up. After meeting Beadell, Ngamayu’s family was picked up at Parnngurr rock hole and taken to Jigalong. Mitutu Mabel Warkarta born about 1920 Warnman language group, Milangka skin group Parnngurr community Martumili Artists After Mabel’s mother and father died, she was ‘grown up’ by one of her aunts. She walked around Karlamilyi and Warnman Country, and when she was older she travelled with her promised husband. After walking into Jigalong, she worked on various cattle stations. Mabel married twice more after the death of her first husband. Ngalangka Nola Taylor senior translator and project adviser Nola works closely with Martumili Artists as a translator and adviser for Martu people. In 2007 she joined the ‘return to Country’ trip at Well 36. She has translated the majority of the Martu oral histories for the Canning Stock Route project. As a cultural mentor under the leadership of Martu elder, Kumpaya Girgaba, she has also provided guidance and support to curator Hayley Atkins, filmmaker Morika Biljabu and the whole project team. She has helped facilitate many trips in Martu Country. Nola is also an artist featured in the Canning Stock Route collection. Thelma Judson born about 1956 Manyjilyjarra language group, Milangka skin group Parnngurr community Martumili Artists Thelma was born in the Percival Lakes region and grew up around Yimiri and Kurturarra. In 1964 her family was one of the last Martu groups to leave the desert and be reunited with their families at Jigalong mission. After she left school, Thelma moved to Strelley station and married in Jigalong, where she had her children. Today she lives in Parnngurr with her husband, Yanjimi Peter Rowlands, and their children. Marjorie Yates born about 1950 Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group Kunawarritji Community Martumili Artists Marjorie was married to senior Martu man Jeffrey James, who died in 2008. After establishing Kunawarritji community in the 1980s, she and her husband raised their children there. Marjorie lives at Kunawarritji today with her children and grandchildren. Jugarda Dulcie Gibbs born about 1947, died 2011 Manyjilyjarra language group, Milangka skin group Punmu and Kunawarritji communities Martumili Artists Dulcie grew up in the country between Kunawarritji and Yimiri. In 1957, after the death of her father at Karlamilyi (Rudall River), the family moved to Jigalong. With her sisters Muni Rita Simpson and Mantararr Rosie Williams, she returned to her Country at Punmu in 1982. She now lives in Kunawarritji with her husband, children and grandchildren. Yuwali Janice Nixon born about 1947 Manyjilyjarra, Mangala language groups, Purungu skin group Parnngurr community Martumili Artists Yuwali was born at Yulpu soak in the Percival Lakes. In 1964 her family group, which consisted only of women and children, tried to evade a native welfare patrol officer who was attempting to bring them in to Jigalong mission. This story is depicted in the book Cleared Out and the film Contact. Yuwali later worked on a number of stations, but finally moved closer to her Country in 1982 when she moved to Punmu. Mantararr Rosie Williams born about 1943 Manyjilyjarra, Mangala language groups, Milangka skin group Punmu community Martumili Artists Rosie was born at Kurupu, near Kurturarra in the Percival Lakes. After her father died at Karlamilyi (Rudall River), Rosie and her sisters, Jugarda Dulcie Gibbs and Muni Rita Simpson, met up with some Martu people who told them that their relatives were at Jigalong, and so they moved to the mission. In 1982 Rosie returned to her homelands at Punmu, where she lives today with her children and grandchildren. Nyangapa Nora Nangapa born about 1916 Manyjilyjarra language group, Karimarra skin group Kunawarritji community Martumili Artists I was born near Lipuru. We went from Lipuru to Wajaparni and Kilykily. They looked after me there as I grew. I went east … and kept on going towards Balgo, travelling with the drovers all the way. Nyangapa lives at Kunawarritji and travels regularly between Kunawarritji and Balgo. She paints for both Martumili and Warlayirti Artists, and many younger artists describe having learned to paint by watching her example. Bugai Whylouter born about 1945 Warnman, Kartujarra language groups, Purungu skin group Kunawarritji community Martumili Artists I saw whitefellas first time in Parnngurr. We were climbing up the hills [to get away]. Bugai was born at Balfour Downs and grew up around Kartarru (Well 24), Wantili (Well 25), Tiwa (Well 26) and Wuranu (Well 29). She travelled around Karlamilyi with her husband, and later with drovers on the stock route. In 1963 her family met surveyor Len Beadell, who was grading roads. They were taken to Jigalong. Nora Wompi born about 1935 Manyjilyjarra, Kukatja language groups, Nungurrayi skin group Kunawarritji and Balgo communities Martumili Artists Wompi was born with ‘pussycat’ (feral cat) Dreaming at Pingakurangu rock hole near Kunawarritji. As a young girl, she travelled north with the drovers to Billiluna and Balgo. Today she lives at Kunawarritji, but continues to travel regularly between Well 33 and Balgo, where she has many relatives. Wompi paints for both Warlayirti and Martumili art centres. Jakayu Biljabu born about 1937 Manyjilyjarra language group, Purungu skin group Punmu community Martumili Artists Jakayu was born near Pitu, east of Well 25, and grew up around Kunawarritji, Rarrki and Nyilangkurr, where her father died. In 1963, with her husband and extended family, she met the surveyor Len Beadell, who was grading roads for the Woomera rocket range. This meeting prompted them to join their relatives who were living at Jigalong mission. In 1982 Jakayu moved to Punmu community, where she lives today with her children and grandchildren. Morika Biljabu photographer and filmmaker Morika lives at Punmu in the heart of Martu Country. Her passion for her family and community inspires all of her film and photographic work. She joined the Canning Stock Route Project in 2007 for the ‘return to Country’ trip at Well 36. She recorded the artists’ workshops and produced a film featuring her grandmother, Jakayu Biljabu. In 2008 her photographs were published in the Weekend Australian magazine; that same year she held her first solo exhibition Ngayunpala Kujungka (We Are One).
Artwork Diagram: canning_stock_route_and_surrounding_country_various_detail
Accession ID: 20131014_FORM_MIRA_B0045_0071
Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.