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I was learning about painting from school and from watching Bamba’s [Corban Clause Williams] mob painting. Bamba is my little brother. I like a painting about Country, painting my grandfather’s Country- Kaalpa (Kalypa, Canning Stock Route Well 23). 

I also like to go hunting with my family.”

– Robina Clause

Robina is part of the youngest generation of Martumili Artists. She, like her contemporaries, began to paint with her parents, grandparents and extended family, thus fostering an organic process of learning, not only about painting techniques, but also specific locations, family histories, traditional ways of life, and Jukurrpa (Dreaming). In this way, cultural knowledge continues to be transferred through visual arts, keeping Martu culture strong.

Robina’s subject matter is strongly informed by her traditional ngurra (home Country, camp) through her grandfather- Kaalpa (Kalypa, Canning Stock Route Well 23). A permanent water source located northeast of Kumpupirntily (Kumpupintily, Lake Disappointment), the site is of great cultural significance, and is also known for good hunting. Adjacent to the waterhole is a hill of the same name. The landscape around Kaalpa is parlkarra (flat country) bordered by tali (sandhills), stretching as far as Windy Corner, northeast and towards the border of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The large and dangerous Jukurrpa (Dreamtime) mosquito and fly beings partially created the landforms in this area and continue to live underground here. Kaalpa also features in the Minyipuru (Jakulyukulyu, Seven Sisters) Jukurrpa, a central creation narrative for Martu, Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people that is associated with the seasonal Pleiades star constellation.   

Stylistically Robina’s work melds traditional and contemporary elements, demonstrating the development of her own aesthetic while continuing to reflect the powerful influence of her elders. Dotted paint applied in modern palettes depict walka (designs), iconographic forms universally shared across the Western Desert. For many thousands of years these designs have represented men and women, kapi (water sources), tali (sandhills), different varieties of warta (trees, vegetation), ngarrini (camps), jina (tracks), jila (snakes), and Jukurrpa (Dreaming) ancestral beings.

Name: Robina Clause

Language: Manyjilyjarra


 "I was born in Newman, 1990. I'm the fourth one of seven- three brothers and three sisters. Mum is from Jigalong, and Dad from Wiluna. Mum's Manyjilyjarra, and I'm Manyjilyjarra, same like mum. I was growing up mainly in Newman, and [Aboriginal communities] Punmu, Jigalong, and 33 (Kunawarritji, Canning Stock Route Well 33).  

I started painting, I been learning by sitting down and watching [my siblings and fellow Martumili Artists Corban Clause Williams and Tamisha Williams] Bamba and Tammy, watching and learning. I was thinking I want to become like an artist like my sisters and brother. Every morning I go to the art centre and paint. I paint my grandfather's land, Kaalpa (Kalypa, Canning Stock Route Well 23). I learned about Kaalpa by watching Bamba. (Here Corban explains "The old people were telling me 'Kaalpa's your grandfather's Country, you gotta paint it. They told me about it. We went out there with KJ (Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa) when we were looking for the [Greater] Bilby. They took me and Tamisha, they showed us our grandfather's Country, Well 23. I went out there, had a good look, walked around, and went back to Wantili (Warntili, Canning Stock Route Well 25), Parnngurr, and I started painting it. Now it's my mind, now I know what Kaalpa looks like. I went back to Martumili and I started telling Robina about the waterholes, jurnu. One walypala (whitefella) well, and a real kalyu (water) there, jurnu (soak). The Seven Sisters landed there, Jukurrpa (Dreaming). That man Yurla yapu (hill, stone, rock) there." [Yurla, who chased the Seven Sisters during the Jukurrpa remains at Kaalpa in the form of a rock])

Painting keeps me busy, keeps my mind fresh. I've gotta do more paintings so I can travel around with Martumili, do an exhibition- see my paintings on the wall."

- Robina Clause with brother Corban Clause Williams

© the artist / art centre