Artist Profile

Aboriginal artist Kenneth Jungarrayi Martin


Kenneth Jungarrayi Martin was born in Lajamanu, an Aboriginal community on the edge of the Tanamu Desert halfway between Darwin and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia. He now lives in Nyirripi, a community approximately 15km north-west of Alice Springs.

Kenneth is a music man, a singer. He is a member of the ‘Lajamanu Teenage Band’, their album Vision was nominated for an Aria Award for the Best World Music Album. The band is popular in the Northern Territory, having played live converts at Survival, Burunga, Melbourne Fringe and many community festivals.

Kenneth began painting with Warlukurlangu Artists in 2011. His “Grandfather” Mosquito Morris and he share the same land, it was Mosquito who showed him the designs and shapes that depict his country. Kenneth paints his father’s Jukurrpa, Yankirri [Emu Dreaming], Dreaming stories about his country south of Yuendumu.

Aboriginal painting by Kenneth Jungarrayi Martin - Ngatijirri Jukurrpa [Budgerigar Dreaming]

Ngatijirri Jukurrpa (Budgerigar Dreaming)

The Jukurrpa [Dreaming] site shown in this painting for Ngatijirri [budgerigar] is at Yangarnmpi, south of Yuendumu. ‘Ngatijirri’ are small, bright green birds native to central Australia which are common around the Yuendumu area, especially after the summer rains.

Men would hunt for ‘ngatijirri’ nests, robbing them of eggs and juvenile birds, which are both considered delicacies. The men would also go out hunting for adult, flying ‘ngatijirri’, which they would kill by swinging branches, killing sticks or ‘karli’ [boomerangs] to hit the birds in flight.

The ‘ngatijirri’ travelled to Yangarnmpi from Patirlirri, near Willowra to the east of Yuendumu and travelled further on to Marngangi, north/west of Mount Dennison and west of Yuendumu. Each time the flock of ancestral ‘ngatijirri’ lands, they perform ceremonies, singing and dancing as they fly and roost in the trees.

The sites of these ceremonies are depicted in this painting as concentric circles, while cross-like shapes depict the footprints of the birds on the ground and give an indication of the large flocks of ‘ngatijirri’ that can be found near Yangarnmpi and other sites close to Yuendumu. After good rains ‘ngatijirri’ can successfully breed several times, resulting in an explosion of the population in a short time. Custodians for the Ngatijirri Jukurrpa are Napaljarri/Nungarrayi women and Japaljarri/Jungarrayi men.


Warlukurlangu Artists is one of the longest running and most successful Aboriginal-owned art centres in Central Australia. Renowned for its gloriously colourful acrylic paintings and limited-edition prints, Warlukurlangu Artists have a national and international profile, and have been featured in exhibitions and publications in Australia and around the world. Established in 1985, Warlukurlangu Artist Aboriginal Corporation is a 100% Aboriginal-owned not-for-profit organisation, owned by its artist from the remote desertcommunities of Yuendumu and Nyirripi in Central Australia.

Warlukurlangu means ‘belonging to fire’ in the local language, Warlpiri, and is named for a fire dreaming site west of Yuendumu.

Visit the Warlukurlangu Artists website