Circa 1958, Nynmi, Gibson Desert, WA
Wirrimanu (Balgo), WA
Nynmi and Nyilla
Tossie walked into Old Balgo Mission from the bush when she was a young girl with her family, including Imelda Yukenbarri and her mother Lucy Yukenbarri (c.1934-2003), with them were Miriam Olodoodi and Patrick Tjungurrayi (instrumental in the establishment of remote dialysis organisation Purple House), as well as artists Josephine Nangagee and the late Lucy Loomoo. As a young girl Tossie walked from the Gibson desert all the way to the southern end of Paraku (Lake Gregory), known as Kitji (two trees). Tossie loves to tell stories about her journey as a young girl. Tossie was granted permission to paint her sister Lucy Yukenbarri’s (c.1934-2003) Tjukurrpa (creation stories and lore). Tossie also paints Wilkinkarra (Lake MacKay), kantilli (bush raisin) and Karntawarra, a small rockhole sacred to her family group. Tossie started painting in 1989 and continues to flourish as an artist, honing her technical and creative energy to produce sublime and colourful paintings full of the details of her stories. Tossie began painting Motika (motor car) stories on a 2018 bush trip. The collaborative painting told the story of the day, including a convoy of Toyota troopies. Tossie’s paintings playfully engage their audience with her ingenuity, whilst displaying a deep spiritual and traditional knowledge. Tossie has a deep knowledge of traditional bush medicine and healing practices. For many years Tossie ran the clinic in Mulan community, and worked with Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service to produce and package bush medicines to be used around the Kimberley. It is now Tossie’s mission to bring remote dialysis to Balgo, working closely with Purple House and Warlayirti to raise the much needed funds to achieve this goal. Tossie is a magnanimous and humorous woman, raising her 4 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren, as well as being a proactive and engaged member of her community.