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Artist Feature - Nyuju Stumpy Brown

(1924c. - 2011)

Language: Wangkajunga

Region: Kimberley

Community: Fitzroy Crossing

Art Centre: Mangkaja Arts

Outstation: Kukapunyu

Senior law woman Nyuju Stumpy Brown was a custodian for ancestral lands at Ngapawarlu, in the Great Sandy Desert. Nyuju was the sister of Rover Thomas and was born at Kukapanyu (Well 39), she grew up in the desert but eventually followed the drovers north along the stock route to Balgo mission with her uncle, Jamili, a stockman. Nyuju later moved to Fitzroy Crossing.


During an art career that spanned from the 1980s until 2008, she recreated the desert sites that she knew from her childhood, focusing on the Dreaming stories that belong to Ngapawarlu, Warrawarra, Jirntijirnti and other water sites along the Canning Stock Route.

“Trees all around - hide that waterhole"

My country - Ngupawarlu. Near Canning Stock Route. Living water, but salty one. You can drink him cold time, but not when he's hot - gets too salty. One woman been travelling in Dreamtime. Whole lot of women travelling, stop at that place Ngupawarlu. They travelling on law business. Big mob - going Alice Springs way. Trees all around - hide that waterhole. Then sandhill, jilji country all around. Like a big lake, trees grow inside lake. You can drink from side of lake - too salty in middle of lake.


NGUPAWARLU,  2005 100 x 145 cm synthetic polymer paint on canvas



Japingka Gallery, WA

Private Collection, NSW


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