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'Kaninjaku' by Kumpaya Girgaba, 2008


'Kaninjaku' by Kumpaya Girgaba, 2008

Object information


Kumpaya calls this painting 'Kaninjaku' (Canning Stock Route), but the road is invisible and the canvas is dominated instead by the rhythm of tali, or sandhills. Among the undulating sandhills running west from the areas around Kunawarritji (the central section of the jagged line running up the left hand side of the painting) to east around 'Windy Corner' (the central section of the jagged line running up the right hand side of the painting) the road itself is barely perceptible. At best, it is a topographic kink in the colour around Kunawarritji. Despite the road's prominence in colonial history and is strong influence on the lives of Kumpaya and her family (see also the paintings of Helicopter Tjungurrayi to learn more of Kumpaya's mother, Kupunyina) the road has been absorbed into the artist's voice and vision of her Country.

Physical description

A long horizontally striped painting on canvas in red, orange, yellow white and beige wavy lines. At both ends are sections of horizontal stripes that are offset and at different angles from the central section. The right side has more white and dark red stripes while the left side has more yellow stripes. On the top right edge is the text 'MARTUMILI ARTISTS 300 x 125', while at the bottom left edge is the number 41 in a circle plus an arrow and text 'Martumili Artists 08-917'. On the bottom edge is the text 'Gumpaya Girgiba Kaninjaku 2008 A/C 300 x 125' . On the back of the canvas is a stamp with the text 'Cat # 218 / form. / The / Canning / Stock / Route / Project'.

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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