Belonging to the Manyjilyjarra language group, Jakayu Bilbaju is a senior member of Martumili Artists, a renowned art centre based at Newman in the East Pilbara, established by Martu people living in the communities of Parnpajinya (Newman), Jigalong, Parnngurr, Punmu, Kunawarritji, Irrungadji and Warralong. Born near Pitu, east of Well 25, Jakayu grew up in Manyjilyjarra Country around Kunawarritji, Wikirri, Rarrki, Wantili, Nyilangkurr and Nyinyari. Her family waited longer than most pujiman (desert dwellers) before leaving their traditional life, with first contact with whitefellas occurring along the Canning Stock Route. In 1982, during the ‘return to Country’ movement, she moved to with her family to Punmu community, where she continues to live today with her children and grandchildren. Jakayu is known for her bold, painterly style. She frequently depicts the sandhills, claypans and salt lakes of the Manyjilyjarra desert regions through which she travelled through to young adulthood, and views painting as an important means of passing cultural knowledge to younger Martu generations.
Newman, WA 6753
Indigenous language groups