Penny K LyonsNyangarni (Penny K Lyons), of the Walmajarri language group was born at Wanywurtu under a tutujarti [desert walnut] tree. She grew up there with her family of one father, two mothers, one brother and two sisters. There is a rock hole with spring water at Wanywurtu where Nyangarni remembers going walkabout for goanna and pussycat [feral cat].
Nyangarni’s family and other groups migrated north to the cattle station country surrounding the Fitzroy Valley. When they left the desert she was a girl in her early teens. During the journey she lost her mother’s sister, then her father and mother. Nyangarni became distressed about losing her parents and wanted to keep looking for them. Her brother kumanjayi [deceased] Pijaju got angry with her and left Nyangarni and her little sister at nearby Milidjidee and kept going.
Nyangarni’s beautiful paintings show the traditional waterholes and hunting grounds of the Great Sandy Desert where she and her family lived up until the early 1950s.