[Points to central oblong form] “That’s an old man with ngankurr (beard) and his brother living there at Punkulyi. They dreaming in Parnngurr area. They yapu (hill, rock) now. They been digging for water. They dug all the parna (dirt) out of the ground, digging and searching for water. They got tired and stayed there. They still there.”
Punkulyi forms part of the Mackay Range, near Parngurr community. In the dreamtime there were two men. The old man was named Ngankurr. When he lay down to rest his body formed the waterhole that exists there today.
Martumili Artists was established in late 2006 and supports Martu artists in Kunawarritji, Punmu, Parnngurr, Jigalong, Warralong, Irrungadji (Nullagine) and Parnpajinya (Newman). Many Martu artists have close relationships with established artists amongst Yulparija, Kukatja and other Western Desert peoples and are now gaining recognition in their own right for their diverse, energetic and unmediated painting styles.
Their works reflect the dramatic geography and scale of their homelands in the Great Sandy Desert and Rudall River regions of Western Australia. Martumili Artists represents speakers of Manyjilyjarra, Warnman, Kartujarra, Putijarra and Martu Wangka languages, many of whom experienced first contact with Europeans in the 1960s.
The artists include painters, workingin acrylics and oils, as well as weavers coiling baskets and sculptors working in wood, grass and wool. Martu artists proudly maintain their creative practices whilst pursuing social and cultural obligations across the Martu homelands.
"My mum's father came from Kirriwirri in the North. I can paint that way too. I like painng, it's a good way to learn from old people, keep the stories going. Yunkurra (Billy Atkins), my nyamu (grandfather), he's guiding me about what I can paint and share. My closest family is the Taylor mob; uncle Muuki, Wokka, and Ngalangka (Nola). They help me too."
- Cyril Whyoulter
Cyril's mother's and Father's country is Jartuti. He is the grandson of senior Martumili Artists Bugai Whyoulter and Pinyirr (dec.). Cyril grew up in Parnngurr and Punmu communities. He now lives with his wife and children between Perth and Newman.
Cyril first developed an interest in art making when he began colouring in pencil with his grandfather Larry Patterson. An avid experimentalist and prolific painter, he has since mastered many painting techniques and developed his own signature style in which the influence of his grandmother Bugai is evident. Cyril is respected as a learned cultural leader, and is a strong proponent of the importance of intergenerational knowledge transfer.