The electrifying workParnngurr Arearelates to the landscape surrounding the Martu community of Parnngurr in the Eastern Pilbara. Significant sites Yalpu, Wangkakarlu, Parnkurrl and Kurran Kurran are depicted – water sources that were crucial to the survival of Biljabu and her family duringpujiman. Biljabu’s family travelled from place to place depending on the availability of food and water at these sites, and to fulfil social and ritual obligations.
The epicMinyipuru Jukurrpa(Seven Sisters Story) follows the travels of an amorous old man named Yurla as he chases seven sisters across the desert of Martu Country. The yellow arc-like shapes in this work represent the sisters dancing near Parnngurr.
Yurla followed the sisters from Roebourne on the coast of Western Australia. At one point in the story, Yurla snatches one of the women, but her sisters trick him and manage to rescue her. Eventually they escape into the sky, taking the form of the seven stars comprising the Pleiades constellation.
About One of Twelve
One of Twelve is an Australian organisation that showcases the work of emerging and established artists from the Asia Pacific region. We are dedicated to celebrating and contributing to the art sector of this region through the production of high quality, silk garments that depict collaborating artists work. These unique pieces are each accompanied by an artist card, detailing the maker’s work and practice.
About the artist
Jakayu Biljabu, a Martu woman, was born circa 1936 near the site of Pitu, east of Well 25 on the Canning Stock Route. She grew up moving between significant sites on Martu Country with her family, occasionally encountering ‘whitefellas’ working along the Canning Stock Route. Biljabu’s father was wary of these outsiders, having heard of the at times, violent and cruel methods employed by Alfred Canning’s group whilst charting the route.
Duringpujiman(traditional, desert dwelling) times, Biljabu and her family travelled extensively between water sources, hunting and collecting bush foods along the way. Biljabu’s family retained their traditional lifestyle longer than mostpujiman, and Biljabu was married with three children by the time they settled at the Jigalong mission. Biljabu later moved to Punmu where she lives and works today.
Employing a startling array of colour, Biljabu’s work often depicts crucial water sources, along with sandhills and other landforms, comprising an atlas of her traditional Country. Testament to Biljabu’s intimate knowledge of this Country, her paintings hum with the vital energy of shimmering oases and moving desert sands.