Rockholes Little Ones, 2022


  • 36cm x 76cm
  • 2022
  • Acrylic On Canvas
  • Catalog No: 1115-22-357

The traditional lands of the Martu people encompass the Great Sandy Desert and Rudall River regions of Western Australia, an enormous tract dominated by distinctive red tali, or tuwa (sandhills). These sandhills present an unforgiving landscape; sparse vegetation covers a seemingly never ending expanse of dunes, and yet these lands and the location of resources within them was known intimately by its pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) inhabitants. At this time, Martu traversed very large distances annually in small family groups, moving from water source to water source through the harsh desert landscape with incredible stamina and resourcefulness. Travel was often undertaken at night, and when travelling during the day, Martu wore yakipiri (woven bark sandals) to protect their feet from the hot desert sand.  Depicted in this work are tali and sources of kapi (water) within the artists’ ngurra (home Country, camp). Today Martu Country is still defined in terms of the location and type of water. Each of the hundreds of claypans, rockholes, waterholes, soaks and springs found in the Martu desert homelands is known through real life experience and the recounting of Jukurrpa (Dreaming) narratives by name, location, quality and seasonal availability. For thousands of years, Aboriginal people have typically represented water with circular forms, and tali with linear groupings in rock art, sand drawings, and now contemporary paintings.