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Janet Nyunmitji Forbes

Papulankutja Artists

Janet was born a bush baby in the Warburton area. Her father, Nyunma came from Tawulbalyana and was a famous traditional owner for the region around Papulankutja. Her mother, Yuminiya was from Waltjatjarra country on the other side (south) of the Blackstone Ranges.

After attending school at the Warburton mission (c1974/75) Janet moved to Norseman to attend high school where she met and married Craig Morrison. They have three children.

The Forbes family decided to return to their country in the 1980’s settling in the new Papulankutja (Blackstone) which was founded by her father Fred Forbes. She had three siblings, only her sister Delma and herself remain.

Janet was a co-founder of the original Papulankutja Women’s Centre and recalls going to a meeting at Hamilton Downs in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara, Yankunyjatjara (APY) Lands to talk to government about money for the centre. In the early days she made batik cloth, just like the women at centres in  the APY Lands where it had started.

Janet learnt to make baskets from her older sister, Ruby Reid and was taught how to make punu (wooden artifacts) by her mother. Janet also makes sculptural forms from tjanpi (grass) with Tjanpi Desert Weavers.

Janet started painting in 2003 at the newly established Papulankutja Artists originally based at the Women’s Centre. Her paintings often depict the nganur (Bush Turkey) story, the Papulankutja story of the two goanna men or the Kungkarrangkalpa (Seven Sisters).

She still lives in Blackstone with her husband Craig and surrounded by family. She lives just behind the art centre so is always coming in to paint her beautiful way, making all the other artists laugh by sharing stories as she works.