Mabel Wakarta


Born: 1929
Language: Warnman
Skin: Milangka
Place of Birth: Yirajarra
Home: Parnngurr : WA
Region: Western Desert



Mabel was born in the 1920s at Yirajarra, which is near Juntu Juntu well 3o on the Canning Stock Route. She is currently the eldest working artist at Martumili Artists. Her parents were both Warnman people whose country encompassed Tarl, Nayijara and Juntu Juntu. Mabel grew up in the pujiman (bush) way until, in a run of very bad seasons, her parents, her brother and her sister all passed away. Following that terrible time, Mabel and some other family members walked through Karlamilyi (Rudall River), Talawana and into Jigalong Mission. Mabel was an adult when she arrived at Jigalong and went to work cooking, washing and
cleaning houses. She worked for many years on Roy Hill, Ethel Creek and Bonney Downs Stations as well as several stations to the south of Martu country. Mabel was married to Wakarta but he passed away in Jigalong a long time ago. Mabel paints her ngurra (home) and her warrarn (country) to teach the young so that they can learn to paint too. When Mabel first started painting she was living in Irrungadji Community in Nullagine with Lily Long and Amy French. As a result the subject of many of her paintings is Irrungadji.


Jina, Karlamilyi, Partujartupini Jurntu Jurntu, Warlili, Walparru, Walyirrilyrri, Warran/pa, Yirratjarra, Walypurru, Yirrajina


National Museum of Australia