Acrylic on Canvas Painting by Roxanne Newberry of Martu Milli Art Centre
Painting: 36 x 46 cm: acrylic on canvas
Artist: Roxanne Newberry
“I paint my dad’s country, Yirriya. It’s got running water coming out of the ground into a big dam, surrounded by lots of trees. It’s really green. It’s on Rawlinson Ranges, fifty or sixty kilometers from Warakurna. Nearby is Circus Waters where my dad was born.
We’d go swimming there. Lake Christopher is nearby too. All part of his Country. We would go hunting; turkey, emu, kangaroo, look for bardi/lungki (witchety grub), honey ants, yellow berries. It’s an outstation. We call it home. We grew up in that place.
Family from Warakurna, Docker River, Wingellina, [and] Wanarn would come and stay. Good memories of that place.”
– Roxanne Newberry
Warakurna, a large Aboriginal community located in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia, is Roxanne’s home. It was here that she began painting. Warakurna lies near the foot of the spectacular Rawlinson Ranges, 300 kilometers
west of Uluru (Ayers Rock), and near the meeting of the borders of Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Ngaanyatjarra people from the Warakurna region and its surrounds have strong ties with neighboring Western Desert groups, including Martu. This work portrays an area of Country that can be interpreted in multiple ways. Firstly, the image may be read as an aerial representation of a particular location known to the artist- either land that they or their family travelled, from the pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) era to now. During the pujiman period, Martu would traverse very large distances annually in small family groups, moving seasonally from water source to water source, and hunting and gathering bush tucker as they went. At this time, one’s survival depended on their intimate knowledge of the location of resources; thus physical elements of Country, such as sources of kapi (water), tali (sandhills), different varieties of warta (trees, vegetation), ngarrini (camps), and jina (tracks) are typically recorded with the use of a system of iconographic forms universally shared across the desert.