Ngurra (home Country, camp), 2022


  • 91cm x 61cm
  • 2022
  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • Catalog No: 22-152

“Ngurra is a very special country, where we grew-up. We go mostly out on country and camp out. We go swimming and looking for honey on the trees. We would hunt turkey, emu, kangaroo, look for bardi (witchetty grub), honey ants, yellow berries. It’s an outstation. We call it home. We grew up there. Good memories of that place.” 

– Roxanne Newberry

The Western Desert term ‘ngurra’ is hugely versatile in application. Broadly denoting birthplace and belonging, ngurra can refer to a body of water, a camp site, a large area of Country, or even a modern house. People identify with their ngurra in terms of specific rights and responsibilities, and the possession of intimate knowledge of the physical and cultural properties of one’s Country. This knowledge is traditionally passed intergenerationally through family connections. Country for Martu is full of memory; not just the memory of their own movement through it, but also of their family. As summarised by Ngalangka Nola Taylor, “painting the ngurra, they do it to remember their connections.” 

Painting ngurra, and in so doing sharing the Jukurrpa (Dreaming) stories and physical characteristics of that place, has today become an important means of cultural maintenance. Physical maintenance of one’s ngurra, like cultural maintenance, ensures a site’s wellbeing, and is a responsibility of the people belonging to that area.