Short biographies are given below for a number of the Wangkatjungka
artists represented on our Web site:
You can see works by these artists on our Wangkatjungka
Penny K Lyons
Penny K. Lyons, of the Walmajarri language group was
born at Wanywurtu under a tutujarti (desert walnut) tree.
She grew up in that place with her family, one father,
two mothers, one brother and two sisters. There is a rock
hole with spring water at Wanywurtu and Penny remembers
going walkabout for goanna and pussycat (feral cat) at
Penny's family and other groups migrated north to the
cattle station country surrounding the Fitzroy Valley.
When they left the desert she was a girl in her early
teens. During the journey she lost her mother's sister,
then her father and mother. She was only a young girl
and quite hysterical about losing her parents and wanted
to keep looking for them. Her brother, Peter Skipper,
got angry with her and left Penny and her little sister
at Milidjidee near there and kept going.
Penny K Lyons
Penny K-Lyons beautiful paintings show the
traditional waterholes and hunting grounds of the Great Sandy
Desert, where she and her family lived up until the early 1950's.
Elsie Thomas was born at Pinga Waterhole in the Great
Sandy Desert around 1940. Her family left the country
of Elsie's birth and moved to Thomas Springs, where they
joined other families who were moving towards the cattle
stations of the Fitzroy valley.
Many desert families camped at Thomas Springs. But new
diseases they encountered there killed many of the older
people as well as children. Elsie's father who had three
wives was killed when police came and chained up several
people and took them to Fitzroy Crossing. A large group
of children then moved onto Christmas Creek station, to
join other Wangkatjungka groups who had settled there.
Elsie moved there with her grandfather. Elsie worked on
Christmas Creek station. Her own family later grew up
Elsie's paintings have been exhibited in Perth, Melbourne,
Brisbane and Broome. She also carves coolamons and other artifacts,
and weaves baskets from spinifex grass and coloured wool.
|Jean was born around 1940 at Lurrbungurr waterhole,
towards Lake Gregory. She grew up speaking Walmajarri, her
mother's language. Her bush name is Ngarru.
"Mother bin bring me to Christmas Creek as a baby.
Grurngarl, that's the old name for this country."
Jean knows her mother's stories, but not the stories from
her father's country.
"When we go to Lake Gregory, we go to Halls Creek,
Bililuna, Balgo, Mullan, down towards Lake Gregory. It's
got blue water, like at Broome. Old man, husband, Tuilip
Tighe, belong to this country. He was born at Christmas
Creek. He's a Nalmajarri man. Father and mother and grandmother
pass away here at Christmas Creek."
Jean worked at the manager's house at Christmas Creek until
she moved to the Ngumpah community, nearer to the highway. Jean's
husband worked in the stock camp at Christmas Creek. Jean has
three grown up boys, Malcolm, Gordon and Daniel. "They
bin born in hospital" And "too many" grandchildren
Jean started painting in 2003 in the Wangkatjungka Arts Project
organised by Japingka Gallery.
Nora Tjookootja was born around 1945 at Liturwarti in
the Great Sandy Desert. As a young child she left her
home country and walked up the Canning Stock Route to
Bililuna. Many desert people were moving north towards
the white settlements of the Kimberley cattle station
Nora grew up at Bililuna. She lost her granny, mother
and brother at Balgo. Nora's husband then brought her
to Christmas Creek. She left three children behind at
Bililuna. Her sister grew them up there. Then she had
two children at Christmas Creek.
Nora Tjookootja paints the waterholes and bushtucker found
throughout the country of her birth. To date Nora's paintings
have been exhibited in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Broome.
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