Exhibition: Martumili Artists Nyilangkurr
Martumili Artists Nyilangkurr
Paul Johnstone Gallery • September 2016
More details and images on the Paul Johnstone Website
Martumili Artists represent speakers of Manyjilyjarra, Warnman, Kartujarra, Putijarra and Martu Wangka languages. Their bold works reflect the dramatic geography and scale of their homelands in the Great Sandy Desert. Martu artists proudly maintain their creative practices while pursuing social and cultural obligations across the Martu homelands.
This exhibition celebrates the work of two incredible Martumili artists - Jakayu Biljabu and Bugai Whyoulter. Their bold works have gained national recognition for their diverse, energetic and unmediated painting style. Jakayu was born c.1937 slightly north of Pitu. She grew up around Pitu, Wikirri, Rarrki, Wantili and Nyinyari on the Canning Stock Route. The Canning Stock Route is a track that runs from Halls Creek in the Kimberley region of Western Australia to Wiluna in the mid-west region. Drovers travelling on the stock route would kill a bullock and give food to Jakayu's group. Jakayu and her sister married the same man (Jakayu's sister was the first wife). Her father was wary of the Europeans who were building new roads along the Canning Stock Route. As a result, Jakayu and her family waited longer than most before giving up their traditional lifestyle. It was 1963 when they decided to leave. By then Biljabu was married with three children and the region was in the midst of an extreme drought.
Bugai was born in 1940 at Pukayiyirna on present day Balfour Downs Station. Her parents soon took her north through Jigalong and Nullagine to Kunawarritji. As a young woman Bugai travelled the Canning Stock Route where she met cattle drovers. Bugai continued to live nomadically with her family and later with her husband. They eventually decided to live at Jigalong Mission with many other relatives.