Yalta, 2022


  • 36cm x 46cm
  • 2022
  • Acrylic On Canvas
  • Catalog No: 1115-22-65

“This is my grandmother’s and mother’s Country, Yalta. It’s very close to Kunawarritji side. I’ve never been there. That was where my mother was born during the pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) times. All the tali (sandhills) around. I want to go there one day, to see that Country, I might go there one day” 
 – Marianne Burton
Yalta is a waterhole located between the Great Sandy Desert’s Percival Lakes region and Kunawarritji Aboriginal community. This site was visited by the Ngayurnangalku (cannibals) during the Jukurrpa (Dreaming). These fearsome ancestral cannibal beings are said to resemble people in their appearance, except for their fangs and long curved knife like fingernails they use to catch and hold their human victims. The Ngayurnangalku continue to live beneath the crust of Kumpupirntily (Kumpupintily, Lake Disappointment), south east of Yalta.  
Yalta lies within Marianne’s ngurra (home Country, camp) through her grandmother and mother. As stated by Marianne here, the site is especially significant to her as it was here that her mother was born. 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. Painting ngurra, and in so doing sharing the Jukurrpa 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.