Kenneth Jungarrayi Martin was born in Lajamanu, an Aboriginal community in semi-arid country on the edge of the Tanami Desert, halfway between Darwin and Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. His parents passed away when he was a little boy so he was brought up by his father’s brother. His Grandmothers live in Alice Springs in the “old timers” home.
“When I was young I was a lover boy, a music man! I’m a singer, my mother was a singer and my father was her manager.” Kenneth is a member of the ‘Lajamanu Teenage Band’ and their album Vision was nominated for an Aria Award for Best World Music Album. They are one of the most popular live acts in the Territory and have played Survival, Burunga, Melbourne Fringe and many other community festivals.
When Kenneth is not travelling with his music he lives in Nyirripi with his second wife Evelyn Nangala Robertson, an artist with Warlukurlangu Artists. Kenneth began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation; an Aboriginal owned and governed Art Centre in Yuendumu, in 2011.
His “Grandfather” Mosquito Morris and he share the same land and it was Mosquito who showed him the designs and shapes that depict his country. Kenneth paints his father’s Emu Dreaming, Dreaming stories about his country south of Yuendumu. “I sit and do painting, it makes me feel relaxed. I do the design and everything and my wife does the dot painting.”