Pujiman, which means bush or desert born and dwelling, is the creative culmination of a two year collaboration between Martumili Artists (Newman) and FORM’s Spinifex Hill Artists (Port Hedland). The art centres, both located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, united to bring the last pujiman generation together with younger artists to share knowledge of culture and Country. The exhibition includes major collaborative paintings, as well as exciting new works in mediums of animation, film and drawing; all reflecting on the rich experiences shared in the project.
The exhibition is part of a larger project delivered by Martumili Artists and Spinifex Hill Artists from 2016-2018. The project endeavoured to engage and empower young people in Newman, Port Hedland and eastern Pilbara communities through art making; learning from senior artists and community members to further develop their artistic practice. With support from Principle Partner BHP, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and the Pilbara Development Commission, the project delivered creative development workshops in portraiture and sand (stop-motion) animation.
The project also entailed a significant, week long artist camp at Punmu community, situated in the heart of Martu Country, on the edge of the Great Sandy and Gibson deserts in 2017. Artist and cultural advisor for Martumili Artists Nola Ngalangka Taylor highlighted the significance of creating opportunities to bring older and younger generations together. “Pujiman days are almost gone, but to keep it up you need to be sharing. There’s so much lost, but we need to keep sharing to keep it alive,” Ms Taylor said.
Emerging Martu artist Cyril Whyoulter shared his thoughts while on the Punmu artist camp. “Anybody can come and paint in Martumili, this for all of us, anybody can paint. Young artists will learn how it was in the pujiman days when they paint. They will learn about the country. We must learn, you know, from the old people, so we can hold onto our stories. Here they are teaching us young ones,” he said.
The resulting exhibition celebrates the work and knowledge of senior pujiman artists, and introduces a new generation of emerging artists, informed and inspired by their predecessors. This unique collaboration between the art centres helps to strengthen the reputation of the Pilbara as a powerful cultural and artistic region.
The Pujiman exhibition launched at the Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery in February 2018, before travelling to Martumili Gallery, Newman in May 2018 and The Goods Shed (FORM), Claremont in August 2018. The exhibition is now touring regional Western Australian venues with ART ON THE MOVE, visit their website for tour dates.
See below project videos. Teaser film produced by Prevailing Winds Productions. Artists profiles produced by Brains Design.