Judith Anya Samson
Born: 1987, Port Hedland, WA
Born in Port Hedland in 1987, Martu woman Judith Anya Samson was raised by her grandparents, senior Martu artists Dadda Samson and Yanjimi Rowlands.
As a child, Anya closely observed her grandmother’s painting. Samson, acting as a mentor to Anya, passed on Jukurrpa (Dreaming stories) as well as painting techniques. The pair frequently travel together through Dadda’s Country around Jigalong and Puntawarri. Dissecting this Country is the Rabbit-Proof Fence, the subject of many of Anya’s paintings.
Under Dadda’s tutelage, Anya has become a captivating painter. Characterised by her forceful mark making and striking iconography, Anya’s compositions are an original hybrid of contemporary and traditional life. Anya creates a unique visual language merging traditional iconography with man-made constructions such as the grid-like forms of the Rabbit-Proof Fence. This sophisticated symbolism poignantly documents the intersection between Martu and colonial histories on Martu Country.
Emu Tracks to Puntawarri depicts the significant site, Puntawarri, that lies along the Canning Stock Route, east of the Jigalong community. Puntawarri, a creek and lake site, is known as a yinta (permanent water source). Due to their scarcity, yinta are some of the most sacred sites on Martu Country.
Anya has lived at Jigalong most of her life. She has significant cultural ties to this area – her mother’s Country. As a young girl, Anya frequently travelled across this Country, hunting and learning the associated Jukurrpa (Dreaming stories) from her family.
In Emu Tracks to Puntawarri, Anya presents us with a striking visual statement. A frenzy of arrow-like forms represent tracks belonging to a mob of emus travelling to Puntawarri in search of kapi (water). Anya’s use of blue in this work contrasts beautifully against the hot oranges and reds of the surrounding landscape; conjuring vividly the eternal blue of the desert sky, reflected in the life-sustaining yinta.