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National Museum of Australia

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Collection Explorer


'Jila' by Nyuju Stumpy Brown, 2007


'Jila' by Nyuju Stumpy Brown, 2007

Object information


"This is a jila in my country, way out, long way near the Canning Stock Route." [Nyuju Stumpy Brown]

Physical description

A multicoloured concentric circle painted within a square border on canvas. Colours include turquoise, pink, red, green, blue, and shades of purple. The text on the bottom front edge reads '60 x 60 SB/174/MJ' and '60 x 60' is written along the left edge. On the back is a stamp and text which read 'Cat # 174 / form. / The / Canning / Stock / Route / Project' and 'Nyuju Stumpy Brown / 122/08 / Mangkaja Arts'. There are also two larger letters 'St' on the back.

Statement of significance

The Canning Stock Route collection is comprised of 125 works and includes paintings, drawings, baskets, boomerangs, coolamons, headdresses, carved figures and shields.

The Canning Stock Route is a no-longer-used cattle droving route that traverses the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts of central Western Australia. Comprised of 48 wells along an 1800 kilometres stretch of track, the route links Wiluna in the south with Sturt Creek in the north and traverses the traditional lands of nine Aboriginal language groups. The route was founded in 1905 when Alfred Canning was commissioned to investigate a route suitable for the droving of 500 head of cattle, with water sources spaced at intervals of no more than one day's walk apart. Although Canning's map records observations of the land and water resources, it makes no mention of Indigenous places and their associated meanings which the route traversed. This collection, composed of 'painting stories', sculptural works and oral histories, re-dresses Canning's omission and records the impact of the stock route on Indigenous lives and country. A six week journey with traditional owners held in July and August of 2007 inspired the artworks, many of which were produced during the journey, and provided an opportunity for more than 70 senior and emerging artists to reconnect with traditional lands..

Object information

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