Wakartu Cory Surprise

"When I paint, I think about my country. I paint from here [head] and here [breasts, collarbone and shoulder blades a reference to body painting]. I think about my people, the old people and what they told me and Jumangkarni [Dreamtime]. When I paint I am thinking about law from a long time ago. Nobody taught me how to paint, I put down my own ideas. I saw these places for myself, I went there with the old people. I paint jilji [sandhills], jumu [soak water], jila [permanent waterhole], jiwari [rock hole], pamarr [hills and rock country], I think about mangarri [vegetable food] and kuyu [game] from my country and when I was there."
Wakartu Cory Surprise

Wakartu Cory Surprise was born at Tapu in the Great Sandy Desert around 1929. Her parents died when she was a baby. She grew up at Wayampajarti. As a young woman she walked out from the bush with her two brothers. She first started painting at Karrayili Adult Education Centre in the early eighties and also painted at Bayulu Community near Fitzroy Crossing. Through painting, Wakartu Cory Surprise was able to tell her stories and she also learned to speak kartiya (white person).   

Wakartu Cory Surprise passed away in 2011 and will be sadly missed.

Courtesy of Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency

Language Group
Walmajarri
Date of Birth
July 1st 1929