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This work portrays an area known intimately to the artist, painted here in exquisite detail from memory. During the pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) era one’s survival depended on their intimate knowledge of the location of resources; thus physical elements of Country, such as sources of kapi (water), tali (sandhills), and different varieties of warta (trees, vegetation) were carefully observed and remembered. Today, this relationship with Country remains equally strong, despite the movement of Martu out of the desert and into remote Aboriginal Communities, towns and cities.

Also visible may be traces of life cycles based around kalyu (rain, water) and waru (fire). A thousands of year old practice, fire burning continues to be carried out as both an aid for hunting and a means of land management today. As the Martu travelled and hunted they would burn tracts of land, ensuring plant and animal biodiversity and reducing the risk of unmanageable, spontaneous bush fires. The patchwork nature of regrowth is visible in many landscape works, with each of the five distinctive phases of fire burning visually described with respect to the cycle of burning and regrowth.  

Finally, metaphysical information relating to a location may also be recorded; Jukurrpa (Dreaming) narratives chronicle the creation of physical landmarks, and can be referenced through depictions of ceremonial sites, songlines, and markers left in the land. 

Name: Victor Yulyampi Burton

Language: Manyjilyjarra

Community: Punmu


Victor was born at Well 33 on the Canning Stock Route and grew up there. In 1964 he went to Jigalong where he went to school. He continued to go out bush to Washburn, Big Hill and Rockhole Claypan. He moved to Strelly in 1973, then to Well 61 where his first child was born. He then moved to Punmu and expanded his family. He currently resides in between Punmu and Port Hedland, moving up and down between the two.

© the artist / art centre