Meet the artist: Joan Martin


The Bush Turkey



Turkeys are territorial animals that over their life time would commonly visit feeding grounds and water holes throughout the country. These particular water holes, that the turkey visits, were also used by Aboriginal men for travelling the lands. The Turkeys mate for life. When either paired turkey dies the other turkey partner will cry itself to death.

The artwork is a representation of those special waterholes and the connection that the male and female turkeys have to each other.
 

The Spirit Line

The traditional artwork is the spirit line of an individual. Individuals are creatures of habit and often go back to familiar places or sites for activities and ceremonies; this is called a songline. Songlines are strong connections to country and several tribal groups may share a particular song line.

The artwork describes the activities of an individual like a document or calendar that outlines his travels throughout the land; hunting, gathering, meeting family and practising culture and ceremonies on country.
 

Creation

The rainbow serpent is the creator of life for most Aboriginal tribes in Australia. In Western Australia, there were three that carved out the land from Central Australia. Two travelled throughout the Mid-West and one travelled to the South-West. In Nyungar Country, we call this serpent the Waagal.

It is important to acknowledge this magical creature on country by grounding yourself and throwing some sand in our waterways before commencing activities.
 

Bungarra Dreaming

In the beginning, all moieties were large creatures. The Bungarra was a large monitor lizard and had a part in moulding the lands. He created a smooth rock called granite. He rubbed his body over the large granite surfaces moulding it throughout the country. You will often find crystal streaks or segments of crystal cohorts where he dragged his tail. In traditional times, the granite was used for traps. Aboriginal people would place a large flat rock on top the granite for reptiles and animals to shelter they would then be easily hunted by the aboriginal men of the tribe.

This artwork outlines the spiritual importance of rock formations and how they were made by the giant Bungarra and used by the people.
 

Moieties

Tribal moieties were plants and animal species commonly found within the traditional grounds of a tribe. Individual moieties were given to individuals by grandparents on the characteristics of a child's behaviour.

Nyungar elders had the duty to select the moieties for each member of the tribe. That member then had the duty of looking after the safety and care of their moieties.

This artwork shows the tribal moieties of the Ninghan, Weitj, Yonga, and Kardar species. The centrepiece is our next generation's moieties. In some cases, the spirit animal chooses you with a friendly visit.
 

Spirit Map

Our lives have a spirit line that is guided by our old spirits of the land.

The artwork reflects thousands of generations guiding our young through life and on into the afterlife, elders looking on over our decisions and the choices we make guiding us down the right path.