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Jukuja Dolly Snell

Biography

Born about 1933 Wangkajunga language group, Nampijin skin group

My mother told me, ‘Daughter there’s a whitefella on a horse coming!’ I ran and hid in a creek bed. My mother was still sitting there. After he left she went and got me from my hiding place, telling me, ‘He’s gone now, that man. Let’s keep walking’. [At] Pankupiti, I told my mother, ‘Can you kill that animal with woolly hair?’ It was a sheep. ‘I won’t kill it,’ she said, ‘It belongs to the white man.’ ‘But I’m hungry!’ I said. She said, ‘No. I am taking you away.’

Dolly was born at Kurtal. When her father passed away she travelled with her mother to Balgo, then Louisa Downs and Kupartiya (Bohemia Downs) stations where she worked and eventually married her childhood sweetheart, Spider Snell.

This is my Country, my uncle’s side near Kurtal. These aren’t proper waterholes; only one good one. Lot of mungalpa [grass] and janturntu [paperbark], that short one. It grows near the waterhole.


The Western Australian artist Jukuja Dolly Snell has been announced as the winner of the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art award.

Her bold and powerful work Kurtal was the overall winner, selected from 65 finalists and more than 290 entries. It tells of the spirits and stories of the artist’s country in the Great Sandy Desert, with the black and yellow said to depict body paint used when dancing for rain, while the white stripes represent the small rainclouds that appear in the sky before rain.

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Aboriginal Art (991)