Ngumarnu Norma Giles

Born: c.1952
Language group: Manyjilyjarra
Skin group: Nakamarra
Communit: Patjarr

“We lived in the bush. At that time we didn’t have any clothes. When we were children we used to live off the meat that our fathers and mothers killed. We grew up on all that food from the land. We lived oblivious to [the] white man and his world.

After living here [Warburton] we went back to our traditional Country and painted our Country. Always painting our Country.”

“You paint it because you know everything. You know because as a child you walked around in the Country and with your parents and grandparents drank from those rock holes and later were taught the names of the rock holes and their stories. They taught us their knowledge so that we could survive on our own after they had passed on.” Ngumarnu Norma Giles, Warburton, 2008

Norma Giles grew up in the bush at Patjarr before moving to Warburton and marrying Mr Giles. She and her family were instrumental in establishing Patjarr community in their homelands.

She is a Manyjilyjarra artist who was born in 1952 and lives in Patjarr on the edge of the Gibson Desert Nature Reserve, Western Australia. Ngumarnu lived a traditional nomadic desert life in her early years before moving to Warburton, Western Australia. She paints for Kayili Artists and her themes include Kapitu Kapitu, which depicts the journey of Giles’ grandfathers and grandmothers to the rockholes of Patjarr, Wirtut, Kurrpulu, Kunungurra, Pandaltjarra, Kalipi, Yalata, Tika Tika, Kulkardartja and Talila. She also paints the rockholes of Tatjarr, northwest of Patjarr, where Warnarmpi (water snake), the dangerous guardian of the waterhole, is to be found.

2007 Kayili Canvas, Power & Beauty: Indigenous Art Now, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen, Victoria
2010 Yiwarra Kuju, National Museum of Australia, Canberra

Kelton Foundation, Santa Monica, California, USA

Australia: Painting the dreaming – Aboriginal artists from Australia – Exhibited at Imago Mundi at Biennale, 2013
Imago Mundi: The Art of Humanity – Dakar, 2014
Imago Mundi: MAP OF THE NEW ART, Venice 2015
Imago Mundi: The Art of Humanity at The Pratt Institute, New York, 2016