CIRCA 1939, KULYAKARTU, WA
Martu man Wokka Taylor (dec), was born circa 1939 in the far north of the Martu homelands near Kulyakartu. During pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling times) times, Taylor and his family travelled to Kulyakartu in the wet season. During the dry season they travelled south to the Percival Lakes region, camping at its numerous waterholes along the way.
A respected senior Martumili artist and Martu Elder, Taylor worked as a Parnngurr Ranger, drawing on his ecological and cultural expertise in caring for Country. Taylor’s extensive knowledge of Martu Country saw him contribute to culturally important collaborative works alongside fellow Martumili artists. Such works are intimate renderings of Country, often depicting the Martu native title determination, an area of over 136,000 km2 to which the Martu were awarded exclusive native title rights. These collaborative works are characterised by their astonishing ecological complexity, describing Martu Country in incredible intricacy from its subterranean layers up.
Sadly, Wokka Taylor (dec) passed away in early 2022. The highly respected Elder is survived by his family, and his legacy lives on his work.
This work depicts Kulyakartu, a significant site in the far north of the Martu homelands. During pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) times, Taylor and his family travelled to Kulyakartu in the wet season to take advantage of the vast grassy planes that made for excellent hunting.
Wokka Taylor (dec), alongside his brother Muuki, was a highly regarded senior Martu man. Together, they held an encyclopaedic knowledge of Martu Country, including a deep understanding of the ecology and biodiversity of their land. In collaborative works, the brothers were known to chart the intricate network of underground waters sustaining their Country.
Taylor’s signature style features densely layered dot work flowing rhythmically across the canvas, suggesting warm winds moving gently over sandhills or soft desert grasses. In this work, Taylor lovingly traced sinuous blue lines that snake their way across the plush grasslands of Kulyakartu, conjuring images of subterranean waters that support the fragile biodiversity of this site.