Ngayuku Ngura - My Country

acrylic on Belgian linen
198 x 182 cm
Lepley Collection, Perth
© The artist and Kaltjiti Arts
Image courtesy Victor France Photographics

Mai tjuta, the seemingly ordinary subject of bushfoods indigenous to the APY Lands, is a strong reflection of Matjangka’s keen sense of place and connection to traditional aboriginal culture and country. It is also her experience and in her memory that these were valuable sources of food and therefore survival for aboriginal people in nomadic times.

Wayanu: Quandongs or native peach (santalum acuminatum)
The tart-tasting, bright red fruits from a small tree enclose a round pitted stone the size of a marble which contains an edible kernel.

Kampurarpa: Desert Raisin (solanum centale)
This sticky, highly nutritious fruit is yellow when ripe drying to chocolate brown colour with a raisin like-texture.

Ngapari : “Sugar Leaf”
A white sweet sap deposied on the surface of the leaves of the red river gum (eucalyptus camaldulensis) by a scale insect and eaten like a sweet or lolly.


Matjangka Nyukana Norris

Born: c.1956 Victory Downs NT
Pitjantjatjara language group
Art Centre: Kaltjiti Arts, Kaltjiti (Fregon)

Nyukana was born at Victory Downs Station, north of Fregon on the border of South Australia and Northern Territory. She moved to Ernabella with her family when she was a tjitji pulka (big girl) and went to the mission school. Nyukana and her family moved to Fregon where she finished her schooling. She has worked as a teacher at the Fregon School and is now a health worker at the Fregon clinic and paints at Kaltjiti Arts.

Nyukana is an energetic and prolific artist who has worked in both batik and paintings. Her work features a range of subjects including the constellations, traditional country, bushfoods and mamu (spirit monsters). She is famous for dancing the mamu inma (ceremony) which is humorous but also scares the children.