Kunmanara (Judy) Martin
Ms Martin had a beautiful, joyous spirit, an imperturbable sense of humour and deep compassion for her community and family.
Ms Martin’s parents were from the west of the APY Lands, the region around Kanpi. Whilst she lived in Mimili for most of her life, she always kept the connection to her parents’ country alive, in both her painting and ngangkari (healing) practice:
“I live far away from my parents’ country now in Mimili, but I carry it unngu (inside) and think of it when I do my ngangkari work. When people come to me with their ailments, it is often because their spirit has been misplaced. When that happens, I think of my country, that sacred living landscape I depict in my paintings, and put it back in place.”
As a renown ngangkari (traditional healer), families from across the APY Lands used to seek Ms Martin out to tend to their spirit. She would often receive visitors at the art centre looking to her for healing and advice.
Ms Martin was one of our founding members at Mimili Maku Art centre, a steady pulse with a calm and observant presence. She was a compulsive creator, painting during the day, weaving baskets by the fire during the night and creating drawings whilst traveling. She was inseparable from her late husband Mr Martin until his passing in 2018, working side by side with him at the art centre every day. In her later years, her paintings became renown and exhibited around the world, celebrated for the raw expression of her spirit and connection to country.