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Kennedy Finlay


  • Year


  • Medium

    Acrylic on canvas

  • Size

    61 x 91cm

This work portrays an area known to the artist, painted here from memory. During the pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) era one’s survival depended on their intimate knowledge of the location of resources; thus physical elements of Country, such as sources of kapi (water), tali (sandhills), and different varieties of warta (trees, vegetation) were carefully observed and remembered. Today, this relationship with Country remains equally strong, despite the movement of Martu out of the desert and into remote Aboriginal communities, towns and cities. Also visible may be traces of life cycles based around kalyu (rain, water) and waru (fire). A practice thousands of years old, fire burning continues to be carried out as both an aid for hunting and a means of land management today. As the Martu travelled and hunted they would burn tracts of land, ensuring plant and animal biodiversity and reducing the risk of unmanageable, spontaneous bush fires. The patchwork nature of regrowth is visible in many landscape works, with each of the five distinctive phases of fire burning visually described with respect to the cycle of burning and regrowth. Finally, metaphysical information relating to a location may also be recorded; Jukurrpa (Dreaming) narratives chronicle the creation of physical landmarks, and can be referenced through depictions of ceremonial sites, songlines, and markers left in the land.

Exhibition Artist Kennedy Finlay

  • Born

    1963, Nullagine (Yirrangkaji)

  • Lives & Works


Kennedy was born in Nullagine. His parents then took him on foot to the Marrina Downs Station where there were a lot of their family. They stayed for a few years and then moved to the mission in Jigalong.

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