Artist | NYUJU STUMPY BROWN (dec)

Artist | NYUJU STUMPY BROWN (dec)


Australian Indigenous (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) artwork by NYUJU STUMPY BROWN of Mangkaja Artists. The title is Ngapawarlu Waterhole. [pc657/05] (Atelier Acrylic Paint on 14oz Canvas)

NYUJU STUMPY BROWN (dec)

Ngapawarlu Waterhole

Australian Indigenous (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) artwork by NYUJU STUMPY BROWN of Mangkaja Artists. The title is Jumu and Warla. [pc496/04] (Atelier Acrylic Paint on 14oz Canvas)

NYUJU STUMPY BROWN (dec)

Jumu and Warla

Australian Indigenous (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) artwork by NYUJU STUMPY BROWN of Mangkaja Artists. The title is Jumu. [wp224/04] (Atelier Artist Acrylic, 250gsm Velin Arches Paper)

NYUJU STUMPY BROWN (dec)

Jumu

Australian Indigenous (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) artwork by NYUJU STUMPY BROWN of Mangkaja Artists. The title is Jumu. [wp230/96] (Atelier Artist Acrylic, 250gsm Velin Arches Paper)

NYUJU STUMPY BROWN (dec)

Jumu

Australian Indigenous (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) artwork by NYUJU STUMPY BROWN of Mangkaja Artists. The title is Ngapawarlu Jila. [pc575/06] (Atelier Acrylic Paint on 14oz Canvas)

NYUJU STUMPY BROWN (dec)

Ngapawarlu Jila

Australian Indigenous (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) artwork by NYUJU STUMPY BROWN of Mangkaja Artists. The title is Warla. [pc571/06] (Atelier Acrylic Paint on 14oz Canvas)

NYUJU STUMPY BROWN (dec)

Warla

Australian Indigenous (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) artwork by NYUJU STUMPY BROWN of Mangkaja Artists. The title is Three Jumu (Soakwater). [6/06] (Atelier Acrylic Paint on 14oz Canvas)

NYUJU STUMPY BROWN (dec)

Three Jumu (Soakwater)

Australian Indigenous (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) artwork by NYUJU STUMPY BROWN of Mangkaja Artists. The title is Wirrakuja. [pc270/05] (Atelier Artist Acrylic on 11oz Cotton Duck)

NYUJU STUMPY BROWN (dec)

Wirrakuja

Australian Indigenous (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) artwork by NYUJU STUMPY BROWN of Mangkaja Artists. The title is Yirrawirli. [wp441/91] (Derivan Matisse Acrylic - 250gsm Velin Arches Paper)

NYUJU STUMPY BROWN (dec)

Yirrawirli

Nyuju was one of the senior artists at Mangkaja until her passing in 2011. Her effervescent, intuitive and brightly hued paintings reflected a spritely and engaging character that belies the hardships and cultural dislocation that Nyuju experienced in her long life. Perhaps the hardest of all was being removed from her ancestral lands around Ngapawarlu on the Canning Stock Route in the Great Sandy Desert. Nyuju’s relationship to her country was at the very core of her work.

At a young age Nyuju was taken by her Uncle to the Catholic mission at Balgo Hills beyond the south east edge of the Kimberley. Here she learnt kartiya (white people) ways before moving to Fitzroy Crossing where she grew up and remained most of her life. She was the mother of three daughters by her late husband Pukulu and went on to marry another Mangkaja artist Hitler Pamba. She worked as a domestic at both Emmanuel and Bohemia Downs Stations, “We got no money for work. We got tea, meat and tobacco”. Within Mangkaja, Nyuju not only enjoyed the companionship of other artists but also the earnings made from the sale of her work, which was a vastly contrasting experience of the first white contact she experienced on Stations.

Nyuju was deeply involved with Wangkajunga law and tradition and was a leader of nyanpi or ceremonies. It was the intense knowledge of law and her love of the land that she poured into her artwork. Nyuju was one a of a number of senior artists who painted the two huge Ngurrara canvases in 1996 to be used in a land rights action brought by people living in and around Fitzroy Crossing claiming some 800,000 hectares of Crown Land in the Great Sandy Desert from where they had been driven off in the 1950s and 1960s. These enormous ‘maps’ of the country show all the ‘living’ freshwater holes (jila) of these people across the expanse of the desert.

Statement from Nyuju in 2003: “My paintings are about my country, my mothers’ country and my fathers’ country. I didn’t know my mother and my father. I lost them when I was young. We lived in desert country. I paint the waterholes and bush tucker found at those waterholes. We were living on bush tucker in the desert, on bush tucker only. I paint about the time before we knew kartiya.

We were frightened of kartiya, we would hide behind the bushes because they might shoot us. Because we didn’t know white people, we were afraid. We didn’t know what aeroplanes were, that noise was frightening, we hid down behind the bushes. My country is in the desert, the Great Sandy Desert. I lived in the desert with my mother and father but when I lost them I was found by Wally Darlington (Uncle) and he took me to the mission in Balgo. We were naked ‘till we got to Balgo, the missionaries give us clothes there. We learned about kartiya there at the mission in Balgo.

The places I paint, Marntilajarra, Kurrkumalu, Kuwiyalpa, Larrikulu, Ngutukurangu, Nyirla, Walpa and Wararwara are some of the waterholes in my country. We collected water with marnma (coolaman) by digging the ground with it and then using that same tool to carry the water. We passed through rocky country and sandhill country. After the rain there was water lying in rock holes. There was also water lying on the surface, lakes formed in claypans on the plain country. There were plenty of places to drink in the wet time. After it dries a bit we had to dig for water at juljulpa (soakwater) and carry it with us.

Since we got the shed at Mangkaja in Fitzroy Crossing I have been painting more than before. I can paint there a lot. Other artists are there and we can talk about those time in the desert and other things that were common with our people. I like that Mangkaja shed because other people are painting there too. I can share the history of our culture and our times in the desert and coming out of the desert to live.

There have been a lot of changes in the way we live now and painting is part of that change. Painting helps with the changes that have happened. My painting is important to my people because we don’t have to worry about what people are doing. We can sell paintings and not rely on bush tucker to live.

Although we live in Fitzroy Crossing and at Wangkatjunga now, the connection with the desert is alive within our culture. It is my country that I paint, my fathers’ country and my mothers’ country.”



Nyuju was one of the senior artists at Mangkaja until her passing in 2011. Her effervescent, intuitive and brightly hued paintings reflected a spritely and engaging character that belies the hardships and cultural dislocation that Nyuju experienced in her long life. Perhaps the hardest of all was being removed from her ancestral lands around Ngapawarlu on the Canning Stock Route in the Great Sandy Desert. Nyuju’s relationship to her country was at the very core of her work.

At a young age Nyuju was taken by her Uncle to the Catholic mission at Balgo Hills beyond the south east edge of the Kimberley. Here she learnt kartiya (white people) ways before moving to Fitzroy Crossing where she grew up and remained most of her life. She was the mother of three daughters by her late husband Pukulu and went on to marry another Mangkaja artist Hitler Pamba. She worked as a domestic at both Emmanuel and Bohemia Downs Stations, “We got no money for work. We got tea, meat and tobacco”. Within Mangkaja, Nyuju not only enjoyed the companionship of other artists but also the earnings made from the sale of her work, which was a vastly contrasting experience of the first white contact she experienced on Stations.

Nyuju was deeply involved with Wangkajunga law and tradition and was a leader of nyanpi or ceremonies. It was the intense knowledge of law and her love of the land that she poured into her artwork. Nyuju was one a of a number of senior artists who painted the two huge Ngurrara canvases in 1996 to be used in a land rights action brought by people living in and around Fitzroy Crossing claiming some 800,000 hectares of Crown Land in the Great Sandy Desert from where they had been driven off in the 1950s and 1960s. These enormous ‘maps’ of the country show all the ‘living’ freshwater holes (jila) of these people across the expanse of the desert.

Statement from Nyuju in 2003: “My paintings are about my country, my mothers’ country and my fathers’ country. I didn’t know my mother and my father. I lost them when I was young. We lived in desert country. I paint the waterholes and bush tucker found at those waterholes. We were living on bush tucker in the desert, on bush tucker only. I paint about the time before we knew kartiya.

We were frightened of kartiya, we would hide behind the bushes because they might shoot us. Because we didn’t know white people, we were afraid. We didn’t know what aeroplanes were, that noise was frightening, we hid down behind the bushes. My country is in the desert, the Great Sandy Desert. I lived in the desert with my mother and father but when I lost them I was found by Wally Darlington (Uncle) and he took me to the mission in Balgo. We were naked ‘till we got to Balgo, the missionaries give us clothes there. We learned about kartiya there at the mission in Balgo.

The places I paint, Marntilajarra, Kurrkumalu, Kuwiyalpa, Larrikulu, Ngutukurangu, Nyirla, Walpa and Wararwara are some of the waterholes in my country. We collected water with marnma (coolaman) by digging the ground with it and then using that same tool to carry the water. We passed through rocky country and sandhill country. After the rain there was water lying in rock holes. There was also water lying on the surface, lakes formed in claypans on the plain country. There were plenty of places to drink in the wet time. After it dries a bit we had to dig for water at juljulpa (soakwater) and carry it with us.

Since we got the shed at Mangkaja in Fitzroy Crossing I have been painting more than before. I can paint there a lot. Other artists are there and we can talk about those time in the desert and other things that were common with our people. I like that Mangkaja shed because other people are painting there too. I can share the history of our culture and our times in the desert and coming out of the desert to live.

There have been a lot of changes in the way we live now and painting is part of that change. Painting helps with the changes that have happened. My painting is important to my people because we don’t have to worry about what people are doing. We can sell paintings and not rely on bush tucker to live.

Although we live in Fitzroy Crossing and at Wangkatjunga now, the connection with the desert is alive within our culture. It is my country that I paint, my fathers’ country and my mothers’ country.”



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