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National Museum of Australia

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Collection Explorer


'Mangarri' by Elizabeth Nyumi, 2007


'Mangarri' by Elizabeth Nyumi, 2007

Object information


This painting shows bush tucker found in the artists Country. While Nyumi was present at the "Helicopter" episode at Natawalu in 1957, her painting is focussed on the foods her family relied upon out bush.

"They [the helicopter crew] got the food and kept putting it under the tree. We didn't know what they were doing so we got up and went to our living camp, to bush food. (Elizabeth Nyumi)

Nyumi paints the abundance of foods growing in her desert Country, with a particular emphasis on grass seeds often represented by her energetic dotting. In this painting Nyumi has also focussed on munyunpa (plum bush), lungki (witchetty grubs) and walku (quandong).

Physical description

A textured heavily dotted multicoloured painting on brown linen with three purple and pink dotted ovals creating a triangular feature in the centre of the painting. The painting is covered with dot filled sections in pastels of yellow, pink, apricot, lavender and white. There are nine round dark pink shapes spaced across the canvas, and covered in a combination of yellow, orange or pink dots. In the top right corner are two dark pink parallel horizontal curved dotted lines, and at the top centre is a spoked wheel shaped motif of dots in yellow and pink on the black background. At the top edge the text reads 'EN/114/WA', while at the bottom left edge is the measurement '152 x 76 cm'.

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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