Billy Yunkurra Atkins


Born: 1940
Language: Putijarra
Skin: Purungu
Place of Birth: Palatji, Well 9 , Canning Stock Route
Home: Jigalong : WA
Region: Western Desert



Yunkurra was born at Weld Springs, also known as Well 9 on the Canning Stock Route. He grew up in the country and around Wiluna, but returned north to his traditional country, which includes Lake Disappointment, Savory Creek and Jilakurru; closer to Well 24 on the Canning Stock Route. Yunkurra is a very knowledgeable senior Martu man and an authority on these important Martu places. He narrowly avoided being taken away by missionaries as a child and subsequently grew up with elderly people, learning about country in the traditional way. Yunkurra now lives at Jigalong, close to his home country. Yunkurra has been painting for longer than other Martu artists and has worked as an independent artist since the early 2000s, painting and carving. His work was selected for the 2003 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award and in 2004 he held a solo exhibition of his work at the Courthouse Arts Center and Gallery in Port Hedland. The National Gallery of Australia has purchased his work and in 2005 he participated in an artists’ exchange program through the Wilin Center at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. Yunkurra has been instrumental in the establishment of Martumili Artists and continues to participate in group exhibitions.


Blue Hill, Durba Springs, Jila Kurru, Kumpupirntily, Kurukandi, Lake Country,
Minyminy Ngurra Jikulungu Wana, Minyi Puru, Marble Bar, Mumajarra,
Ngayuna ngalkumili ngurru, Nyingangalku, Parnkurra, Pirntiniri, Puntalyaramu,
Puntawarri, Roy Hill Station, Savoury Creek, Yalabara, Yinta, Leonora Way,
Warranpa, Wuukarta


National Gallery of Victoria
National Gallery of Australia


2003 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award