Nancy Nyanjilpayi Chapman, Manyjilyjarra people Australia b.1942 | May Maywokka Chapman, Manyjilyjarra people Australia b.c.1940s | Mulyatingki Marney, Manyjilyjarra people Australia b.1941 | Marjorie Malatu Yates, Manyjilyjarra people Australia b.c.1950 | Mukurtu 2010 | Synthetic polymer paint on linen | Purchased 2010 with funds from Professor John Hay, AC, and Mrs Barbara Hay through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
Nancy Nyanjilpayi Chapman
May Maywokka Chapman
Marjorie Malatu Yates
A stark environment of white land and white sky in white heat, Lake Dora (Ngayarta Kujarra) is a vast salt lake 1300 kilometres north-east of Perth. It has been painted by four sisters who live close to its shores: the lake is at the heart of their lives and practice. The artists have profound respect for the lake and the fresh waters that have sustained their families for generations, and they painted the story of this important site to remind people of the ‘pujiman days’, the times of living nomadically. Collective stories, carried in unbroken tradition through songs and dances, are now brought to new life through painted images.
For the three older artists, this project was a way of inducting their younger sister, Malatu, into what country she could paint and how to paint it. Because of its importance, the painting attracted community interest. By creating a map of land and waterholes, young people could learn how they are connected physically and spiritually to their country. As Nancy Chapman says: ‘Mukurtu is Spring Water, it is good water to drink, it is bad to drink if you are a big woman, if you are a woman this kapi (water) makes you fat!’