Nora Wompi Australian, Manyjilyjarra, b. 1939
Nora Wompi grew up in the desert, primarily north and east of Punmu and Kunawarritji communities. Nora was born with 'pussycat' (feral cat) Tjukurrpa (Dreaming) in the Great Sandy Desert in a place called Lilparu, (Well 33 on the Canning Stock Route). Here she lived a traditional nomadic life with her family: her older brother looking after her and teaching her how to hunt.When she was young, her parents often went hunting and left her in the care of her older brother. Wompi remembers him as a good brother, who carried her to the shade, and brought her cool water. Nora says that “I saw whitefellas first time near my country, Kunawarritji”. She stayed with her family until she was able to hunt for herself, but eventually decided that she, like many of her relatives, would leave the desert. Wompi travelled north through Kulikujara, Puntilyarr, Walayurtu,Pankarn, Jintijinti and Mayililyi before reaching Billiluna. Nomadic life was harsh during dry times and she tells of the long walk into Balgo Mission with her mother and brother to find water and food. At the Balgo Mission (old Balgo), Wompi cooked bread at the bakery, tended to the goats, and met her husband - brother to fellow artist Lucy Yukenbarri. Wompi and her husband, Dick Cowboy (deceased) would paint together in the early days of Warlayirti Artists as was common then when husband and wives in Balgo. They spent some time in Fitzroy Crossing until her husband passed away, then Nora returned to Balgo and painted for Warlayirti Artists. She lived at Balgo and surrounding communities before returning to Kunawarritji to be with her close relatives. She continues to visit her family and friend in the Balgo community. Her work oscillates between intricate tracings of familiar country and painterly strokes of bold colour: passionate outpourings of her deep love of the spirit and physical being of her country.She is a prolific painter and evocative storyteller, with deep knowledge about the country surrounding her home at Kunawarritji.