An acrylic on canvas line and circle painting. It features a dark blue oval in the centre. The rest of the painting illustrates clusters of concentric ovals and circles.
The central water in this painting is Kunkun, an important women's site belonging to Marlu Jukurrpa, or 'Kangaroo Dreaming'. The Canning Stock Route itself runs along the top edge of the painting. The painting was completed during a Canning Stock Route Project workshop at Kunawarritji in 2008. Two younger women, Mary Njana and Jacinta Galova, helped the senior artists paint Kunkun. As they did so, they learned some of the stories, which are integral to education in desert cultures. After completing the painting, the artists travelled to Kunkun, where they taught young women the song and dance for this Country.
Kumpaya Girgiba called out the names of the water sources as she lay down the initial brushstrokes for this painting, showing Kunawarritji, Kunkun and the broader region. The central blue teardrop shape represents Kunkun soak, the country of Kumpayas first husband and was one of the first elements defined, at which point she began telling the Kangaroo Story (Marlu Jukurrpa). This Jukurrpa is also significant within men's law and contains elements restricted to initiated men and women. [see notes]
Apart from Kunkun itself, there are another 56 named sites depicted in this painting, 11 of which are stock route wells. These are places where the artists lived, where family members were born and died, and where ancestral beings left their power. If we begin naming water sources from Kiwirrkura back to Windy Corner and onwards, the water sources on the left of the teardrop shape have names approximately as follows.
Close to CSR:
Closer to Kiwirrkura:
Furthest from CSR:
Ngurrinyi / Nguurrili (unclear)
Furthest from CSR, right hand side of teardrop/hook:
Midway back towards CSR, to the bottom right of the teardrop/hook:
Heading parallel to the CSR
Manguri (wild onion place)
Then close to the CSR, from the teardrop/hook towards the right:
Yurltur (a big rockhole)
Note that the Marlu story seems to begin around Yunapayi, and curves around the outside of the hook towards and then past the teardrop.
Kumpaya's were the top middle and top right sections.
Nora Nungabars section (top left)
From the top left hand corner, heading along the CSR towards Kumpaya:
In a parallel, somewhat sloping line, also left to right, run:
Yiriti yinta (a big snake left here and went to Punmu)
Wala wala jurnu
Nora Wompis section (bottom left)
Karru creek. (starting in the corner, flowing along edge of canvas)
Wanariwunu (Regular size, fourth from edge)
Munyujurl (Very large, fifth from creek)
Kuritji (Sixth from creek)
All these waterholes belong to Wompis mothers country.
Bugai Whylouters section (bottom right)
Kartaru - We used to walk around those yinta.
Canning Stock Route collection
The Canning Stock Route is a no-longer-used cattle droving route that traverses the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts of central Western Australia. Comprised of 48 wells along an 1800 kilometres stretch of track, the route links Wiluna in the south with Sturt Creek in the north and traverses the traditional lands of nine Aboriginal language groups. The route was founded in 1905 when Alfred Canning was commissioned to investigate a route suitable for the droving of 500 head of cattle, with water sources spaced at intervals of no more than one day's walk apart. Although Canning's map records observations of the land and water resources, it makes no mention of Indigenous places and their associated meanings which the route traversed. This collection, composed of 'painting stories', sculptural works and oral histories, re-dresses Canning's omission and records the impact of the stock route on Indigenous lives and country. A six week journey with traditional owners held in July and August of 2007 inspired the artworks, many of which were produced during the journey, and provided an opportunity for more than 70 senior and emerging artists to reconnect with traditional lands..
Canvas, Acrylic paint