Wakartu Cory Surprise
Born about 1929, died 2011
Walmajarri language group, Nyapana skin group
Fitzroy Crossing Community
The station manager was hitting people, so we ran away back desert to see if we can find any of our people left, but nothing, only all the dead ones. Police tracked us down and put chains around the men.
Wakartu was born at Tapu. After the death of her parents she travelled with her brothers to Kaningarra and Wayampajirti where she grew up. As a married woman, she and her husband ran away from Christmas Creek Station, and the police brought her husband back in chains. Wakartu raised seven children while working for the police, on stations, and collecting minerals for rations.
2007, Wakartu Cory Surprise
acrylic on canvas, 120×119 cm
National Museum Australia
The snake that belongs to this jila [waterhole] cries for the people to come back to their Country. When people go back to visit, all the men dance around the jila to let the snake know they’re coming.
This painting depicts one of the jila men, Wayampajarti, whose home lies west of the Canning Stock Route. The dance for this jila is sometimes performed at cultural festivals by Canning Stock Route Project co-curator Murungkurr Terry Murray.