Yungkurra Billy Atkins
born about 1940
Putijarra language group, Purungu skin group
Yunkurra is a painter and carver who began practising as an independent artist in the early 2000s, before other Martu artists were painting commercially. His work was selected for the 2003 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, and in 2004 he held his first solo exhibition.
Yunkurra was born at Palarji (Well 9) on the Canning Stock Route. While he avoided being taken away by missionaries as a child, his sister’s story of escape from missionaries was told in the film Rabbit-Proof Fence. Yunkurra now lives at Jigalong, close to his home Country, which includes major sites around the stock route, such as Lake Disappointment, Savory Creek and Jilakurru.
Kumpupirntily Cannibal Story
2008, by Billy Atkins
acrylic on canvas, 106.5 x 105.5 cm
National Museum of Australia
It’s dangerous, that Country. I’ve seen that [cannibal] man, he’s there and I know it. I don’t know how white people go over there. If they were to run into him he would eat them straight out. Kumpupirntily, that’s a no good place … leave it alone and have nothing to do with it at all. Just leave it how it is.