Jukuja Dolly Snell (c1933-2015)

Born around 1933, one of the Kimberley’s most treasured senior artists and significant cultural leaders lived through a historically tumultuous time, shifting from her early desert life to station work and servitude, then to town camps which formed the foundation of Fitzroy Crossing. She was devoted to her family and taught them about desert life, what to eat and where to find it. Named the “Kurtal Queen” by her granddaughter, she started painting in the late 1980s and was a founding member of the Karrayili Adult Education Centre and Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency. Jukuja was one of the artists that shaped the Aboriginal Art boom in the 1990s, with a clear strong voice and determination to see her culture continue. She passed away in 2015 and leaves a legacy that continues to shine brightly.

"I was born at a jila [permanent waterhole] called Kurtal. Mum took me to Balgo and then to Warnku. I was living there when my sister Wagajia took me to Sturt Creek and then back to Warnku. From there we walked to Louisa Downs Station with my family. I spent time at Bohemia Downs and Christmas Creek Stations. I used to milk the goats at Bohemia Downs Station. I was a young girl without milk, I had not yet had children when I first went there.

When I paint, I paint Kurtal. I paint one country. I can’t paint other country. I have two brothers and two sisters who belong to this jila."

2015 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award

Art Gallery of New South Wales
National Gallery of Australia
National Gallery of Victoria
Artbank, Sydney
IATSIS Collection, Canberra
Holmes a Court Collection
Edith Cowan University
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide
Northern Territory University
Museum and Art Gallery of Northen Territory
Kennesaw State University, Atlanta, Georgia
HBL Collection, Melbourne
Harriett and Richard England Collection