Kukatja, Walpiri and English
Sarah is one of the highest Law women in the community, being consulted and deferred to on all questions of Law. In addition, she is the custodian (shared with her sisters Mitjilli and Nancy Naninurra, when they were alive). Her traditional land is called Mina Mina and is located north of Lake Mackay in the Northern Territory. In her formative years, Sarah and her family travelled and hunted, performing ceremonies and Law to look after their country, as well as for their own spiritual preservation. Nomadic life was harsh and most of her extended family passed away or moved to other parts of the country by the time Sarah had her first contact with non-Aboriginal people.
When she was a young girl, Sarah left her bush home with her husband Charlie Tjupurulla and their first child Jeanie, headed to Mount Doreen Cattle Station located in the Northern Territory, 50km west of Yuendumu. It was there that she had a further three children: Peter, Veronica and Linda.
Sarah and her family have lived in Balgo community since 1971. Sarah has a unique painting style, whereby each work comprises of multiple layers, each shrouding a Tjukurrpa (dreaming) that is unable to be observed by the eye. She has a certain spontaneity and strength of brush mark that only an elder could achieve, leaving rhythmical tracks across the canvas, while each work also resonates with the power of place and intimate knowledge of country that Sarah has been able to maintain throughout her life. Painting is like her second language and she paints persistently with passion and dedication, weaving stories from the Tjukurrpa (Dreaming) as well as her personal history and knowledge.