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Aboriginal Artist BiographiesBiographies of Wangkatjungka Artists


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 Paintings pages.

Mildred Benny

Mildred Benny, daughter of Nora Tjookootja, was born at Bililuna Station around 1951 and now lives at Wangkatjungka with her children. Her husband has passed away.

Nora left the Great Sandy Desert with other family members and walked north along the Canning Stock Route towards Bililuna and Balgo. Mildred was taken from her parents when she was young. Later with her husband Nora moved to Christmas Creek station, where the Wangkatjungka Community was eventually established on land excised from the station.

Mildred became interested in painting after seeing the work produced by elders of the Community who had begun painting as part of their course at the Karriyili Adult Education Annex. This operated at Wangkatjungka Community from 1994 to 1998.


Mildred Benny
Mildred Benny

Mildred often paints her mother's traditional country in the Great Sandy Desert. She prefers to paint in earth tones and her paintings feature a precise placement of symbols on a carefully executed ground of dots. To date, her paintings have been exhibited alongside other Wangkatjungka artists in Perth, Broome and Canberra.

Rosie Goodijie

Rosie was born about 1935 near Nyirla, at Pulyayi waterhole, near Well 39 on the Canning Stock Route. She moved with other family members north along the Canning Stock Route towards the white settlements of the Kimberley cattle station country. She moved first to Bililuna station where she milked the nanny goats, working for rations. Later she moved to Christmas Creek station.

Rosie paints the country where she grew up with her family before they were separated from their country and moved to Christmas Creek Station. She currently lives at Wangkatjungka and sometimes camps at the homeland of Ngaranjadu.

Rosie's paintings have been exhibited in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Broome. Rosie appeared in the film Rabbit Proof Fence singing at Jigalong in 2002.

Rosie Goodijie
Rosie Goodijie

Gracie Greene

Gracie was born in 1949 on the original Billiluna Station, where her mother (Mary Tjaatju, who later also became an artist at Balgo) and father worked. When she was a girl, her parents moved to the second of three mission sites, which was about 20 km west of present day Balgo.

She lived in the girl's dormitory in the old Mission during the 1950s and 1960s, before marrying and having four children, two of whom also paint.

Gracie was one of the early Balgo painters, though she has also lived for extended periods at Christmas Creek (Wangkatjungka), near Fitzroy Crossing.

Gracie Greene
Gracie Greene

She mostly paints stories from the women's skin groups, the Wati Kutjarra (two men) Dreaming and Ngamarlu Rockhole site, which is close to Balgo. Gracie Greene's paintings and sculptures have appeared in numerous exhibitions and publications.

Janie Lee

Janie Lee was born at the old mission at Balgo around 1945. Her family had lived in the area of the Canning Stock Route, her mother was born at Kulyayi, the site of well 42.

Janie says that stockman had given her parents bullock meat and tobacco. They liked bullock meat and followed one group all the way north to the end of the stock route. "Everybody bin come. Everybody from the desert". The story of first contact along the stock route had seen many people move towards cattle stations to the north and north-west.

Janie Lee
Janie Lee

During the late 1940s the family lived round Balgo, then moved to Christmas Creek. By this time, all the Wangkajuna people had come together at Christmas Creek for ceremony time. Janie's mother and the children moved between the sheep station at Thangoo where cousin Peter Goodigie worked, and Christmas Creek.

When Jamie was old enough she started working at the station house. First in the garden, later inside the house. "We learn about (station) work. We work for rations." Janie married and had three children, who grew up at Christmas Creek. Later they moved to the new community of Ngumpan, closer to the main highway.

Janie did not start painting until 2003. She began to paint in the Wangkatjunka Arts Project run by Japingka Gallery. Janie paints stories from ancestral homelands belonging to her extended family.

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