Stumpy Brown

“My paintings are about my country, my mother’s country and my father’s country. We lived in the desert country (the Great Sandy Desert)…

Region: Great Sandy Desert, WA

Nyuju Stumpy Brown, a Wangkatjunka woman, was born on the Canning Stock Route at a place called Ngapawarlu. She was a prominent artist at Mangkaja Arts. Her process of painting was spontaneous and relied heavily on the gesture and exuberance of colour. A recurring motif in Stumpy Brown’s work is the circle, which indicate places, waterholes and bush foods, to name a few.

Stumpy Brown lost her mother and father at an early age and was raised by her uncle Jamali Wally Darlington who drove bullocks on the Canning Stock Route. He took her to the Catholic Mission in Balgo where she learnt kartiya [white people] ways before moving to Fitzroy Crossing. She married Pukulu, a leader in the church at the old Fitzroy Mission and together they had three daughters. She worked on the Emmanuel Station around Fitzroy Crossing doing domestic work.
She told of her early life:

“I was born along the Canning Stock Route. I came to Balgo on a camel. This was the first time I came in from the bush. I was a young girl with no breasts. Later I worked in the kitchen at Bohemia Downs Station. We got no money for work. We got tea, meat and tobacco.”

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