Eubena was born some time in the 1920s at Tjinjadpa, west of Jupiter
Well on the Canning Stock Route in Western Australia. She speaks Wangkajungka
and Kukatja languages. She is one of the most esteemed law women in
the Balgo community, being consulted and deferred to on all questions
When she was a young girl, Eubena was taught her maparn (traditional
healer) skills by her mother Moogaga. The family travelled and hunted
on the northern fringes of the Great Sandy Desert, performing ceremonies
and law for the upkeep of their country and their own spiritual preservation.
Nomadic life was harsh and most of her extended family died or moved
to other parts of the country. Eubena talks of many 'sorry' times
associated with these losses in her family.
Eubena with her husband and family traveled up the Canning Stock
Route to Billiluna Station before following the mission as it moved
around, until arriving at its present site at Balgo Hills. Before
his death, her husband Gimme helped Father Piele with a Kukatja (Eubena
and Gimme's second language) dictionary, to which Eubena also contributed.
Today she is one of the few people alive who maintains a full vocabulary
of this language.
Despite living at the mission and tending herds of
goats, Eubena continually travelled back to her country, living in
and from the land for extended periods. Her extraordinary hunting
instinct (which remains today) combines with an effortless energy
when she is out in the country. She still regularly spends months
at a time out in the bush.
Eubena started painting with her second husband Wimmitji
in the mid 1980s. Their work shared a luminous and intricate complexity
along with a love of the warm reds, oranges and yellows that continues
to be Eubena's signature today. Eubena's reputation grew, as one half
of the famous painting duo at Balgo, but also as a solo artist in
her own right. She is now recognised as the leading artist in Balgo
and one of the outstanding Aboriginal artists in Australia.
Eubena has great spontaneity and strength in her painting,
leaving rhythmical tracks across the canvas composed of
thick layers of dotted lines. Painting is like her second
language and she paints persistently with passion and
While she is a regular and committed painter, the number
of paintings she has produced has fallen in recent years
because of the amount of time she spends out on her country,
away from the "humbug" of community life.
Eubena painting in the desert
south of Balgo
The major Dreaming stories depicted by Eubena in
her work are from the Tingari (ancestral women) cycle and the Wati
Kutjarra (two men dreaming). Other themes in her paintings include:
Tjumu (soak water); Tjukarra (rock holes); Malu (kangaroo dreaming);
bush tomato; goanna, mouse, moon and dingo dreaming.
Eubena's work is represented in many major public
and private collections in both Australia and overseas. A large article
about her was included in the March 2001 issue of "Australian
Art Collector" magazine where she was rated as one of the 50
most collectable artists in Australia.
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