Kenneth Jungarrayi Martin
Budgerigar Dreaming | 76h x 30w | RK178
Not stretched or framed | Acrylic on canvas
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 Jukurrpa, Yankirri (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.”
The Jukurrpa site shown in this painting for Ngatijirri (Budgerigar) is at Yangarnmpi, south of Yuendumu. ‘Ngatijirri’ are small, bright green birds native to central Australia which are common around the Yuendumu area, especially after the summer rains. Men would hunt for ‘ngatijirri’ nests, robbing them of eggs and juvenile birds, which are both considered delicacies. The men would also go out hunting for adult, flying ‘ngatijirri’, which they would kill by swinging branches, killing sticks or ‘karli’ (boomerangs) to hit the birds in flight. The ‘ngatijirri’ travelled to Yangarnmpi from Patirlirri, near Willowra to the east of Yuendumu and travelled further on to Marngangi, north/west of Mount Dennison and west of Yuendumu. Each time the flock of ancestral ‘ngatijirri’ lands, they perform ceremonies, singing and dancing as they fly and roost in the trees. The sites of these ceremonies are depicted in this painting as concentric circles, while cross-like shapes depict the footprints of the birds on the ground and give an indication of the large flocks of ‘ngatijirri’ that can be found near Yangarnmpi and other sites close to Yuendumu. After good rains ‘ngatijirri’ can successfully breed several times, resulting in an explosion of the population in a short time. Custodians for the Ngatijirri Jukurrpa are Napaljarri/Nungarrayi women and Japaljarri/Jungarrayi men.
Warlukurlangu Artists, Yuendumu NT
Red Kangaroo Gallery, Sydney, NSW
This painting does not come with a photo of the artist holding the work.