Artists and rangers collaborate on Country to share knowledge, stories and artworks about waru (fire).
Martu have harnessed the power of waru in various forms as an integral cultural and functional practice for thousands of years. A tool for hunting, signalling and land management- knowledge of waru has been passed down through generations, and is still used for all these things today. Focused around a bush camp held in 2021, Martumili Artists and KJ rangers have collaborated on a body of creative and cultural works that explore and demonstrate the importance of waru for Martu- with programmed activities directly contributing to the continuing intergenerational transfer of Traditional and Ecological Knowledge (TEK), and with an exhibition showcasing the ongoing work of Martu in caring for ngurra (Country).
The Waru exhibition is the first part in a collaborative series of Martu-led workshops, camps and exhibits delivered by Martumili and KJ that foster opportunities for Martu led intergenerational learning, and showcase the ways in which both ranger and artistic work is embedded in maintaining Warrarnku Ninti (knowledge of Country).
Martumili Artists and Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa gratefully acknowledge principal partner BHP. The Waru |Warrarnku Ninti project has been supported by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industry through the Future Focus funding program.
Open July - September 2022
Alcaston Gallery, in conjunction with Martumili Artists, is delighted to present an important survey exhibition of paintings by Bugai Whyoulter, a Kartujarra woman and a senior custodian of the lands surrounding Kunawarritji in Western Australia, with a curated selection of the artist’s significant works from 2015 to 2021 based on Place - depicting key sites across Whyoulter's ngurra (Country).
Winner of the General Painting Award in the 2021 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards for her painting Wantili (Warntili, Canning Stock Route Well 25), Whyoulter is known as a master of colour and gesture.
Born of the pujiman generation (meaning bush or desert born and dwelling), Whyoulter spent the first thirty years of her life travelling the eastern side of the Karlamily (Rudall River) region and along the midsection of what was later known as the Canning Stock Route - an 1850 kilometre-long track that traverses the Great Sandy, the Little Sandy and the Gibson Deserts of Western Australia - from Kartarru (Canning Stock Route Well 24) to Kunawarritji (Canning Stock Route Well 33). The intimate knowledge she holds from this time, of the land, its hidden water sources and the stories that shape them, is effortlessly transferred to her paintings through a practice that is intuitive, gestural, and highly perceptive.
Following the artist's recent success at the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art awards and exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, this important survey exhibition maps not only the artist's practice over the past six years, but also provides a sense of place and context, depicting key water sources of Wantili, Kaalpa, Parnngurr, Wangkaklu, Tiwa and Kartarru, places long revered and understood by Whyoulter and the Martu people.
Considered one of the most established Martumili Artists working today, Bugai Whyoulter has been acquired by several major national institutions and exhibited widely both nationally and internationally.
Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne VIC
27 April - 13 May 2022
This is a story of artists painting at home, during periods of isolation and lockdowns from 2020 - 2022. During the global pandemic the remote Martu communities of Parnngurr, Punmu, Kunawarritji, Warralong and Jigalong have experienced lockdowns and restrictions, with access to visitors strictly prohibited to protect community members, and in particular the important elders that call Martu Country home. Martu Artists who found themselves at home or on Country during lockdown had the opportunity for reconnection with their daily art practice, undisturbed by busy contemporary life as Australia, and indeed the world, slowed down in the face of the global pandemic. These artworks showcase the unstoppable determination of Martu Artists in their work, and demonstrates a deep and enduring commitment to art-making as an act of cultural preservation and social connection. To Martu Artists, painting is connection. And in times of isolation and lockdown, they have remained connected to eachother, and to their Country.
Martumili Artist Gallery, Newman WA
22 April – 30 June 2022
434km from Newman, Warralong community was established as an offshoot of the Strelley Station, and has strong ties to pastoral history, including the 1946 Pilbara strike. The closest of the communities to the coast, Warralong is also surrouded by lush waterways and green campspots. The community is centred around the school, which is where the Warralong artists set up to paint. Martumili Artists such as Biddy Bunawarrie, Lorna Linmurra, Mary Rowlands, May Mayiwalku Chapman and Doreen Chapman all call Warralong home, and like to take the Martumili staff camping and fishing when they can!
Featured Artists: Doreen Chapman, Elizabeth Toby, Lorna Linmurra, May Chapman Mayiwalku (May Wokka), Nancy Chapman Nyanjilpayi, Ngamaru Bidu and Yikartu Bumba
Yaama Ganu Gallery, Moree NSW
10 July – 10 August 2021