B. c. 1939 Kalpirti, Western Australia
Margaret Baragurra was born in Kalpirti in the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia. Her upbringing was spent travelling across the desert region, from waterholes to seasonal wetlands. In the 1970s a sustained drought forced her people, the Yulparija, to leave their traditional country and settle in the coastal town of Bidyadanga on the Kimberley coast (formerly La Grange Mission), some 250 kilometres south of Broome. The artist began painting in 2003 and is known for combining traditional designs from the Great Sandy Desert with the vibrant colours of the Kimberley.
In Kampagee a dark background is interrupted by bright forms of electric green dotting outlined in crimson red. For Margaret Baragurra, the image evokes powerful memories of her country in the wet season, when rich colours abound and there is an abundance of food. Of the painting, the artist says:
“My country Kampagee, we been walking around, I been born there. I am little one walking around Nanarra. Lots of jila, warla (mud flat). Old people country blood country, sad one you know. He been lost there my uncle everyone been lost there my grandfather too.”