Nora Tjookootja Australian, Walmajarri, b. c. 1930
Nora was born in Pirrparr which is where her mother, father, brother and paternal grandparents lived. Her father lost his son while Nora was still a baby so they left Pirrparr and walked to their Uncles country, to Monkarhay at Old Balgo. Her mother was one of her father's three wives. All have now passed away except for Nora and a brother who lives in Billaluna. One sister died in childbirth.
She grew up at Yagga Yagga near Old Balgo where she married and had three children Mildred, Rita and Mickey. She left them behind and moved to Wangkatjungka with her husband and baby son Albert. Rita married and moved to Halls Creek; Mickey and Mildred schooled in Balgo. Yagga Yagga had a son called Charlie in Wangkatjungka and a daughter called Dolly in Derby Hospital
"We paint to keep em strong you know"
George Tuckerbox is one of the key artists from a group of around twenty artists who paint at the Wangajunga annexe of the Karrayili Adult Education centre. As a response to community requests, the centre was established in 1994 to assist the elders with literacy and numeracy skills. As with the education centre in town, painting has been a core component of these classes. Concurrent with this development, the establishment through Mangkaja Arts of a wider profile for Fitzroy Crossing art in part paved the way for these painters to emerge as a distinct group of Kimberley artists who now exhibit nationally and internationally. It is characteristic for the artists to exhibit as a group.
Although they are not all from the same country, they share Wangkajunga as their common language, and they have very similar histories. Most were born in the desert to the east of the Canning Stock Route and then they shifted into the stations with their grandparents and parents. The first paintings the artists remember producing were done at the old mission before many of them moved back to Wangkajunga or Jitapuru as it is known to them.