Gwenda Nungurrayi Turner is the daughter of Maureen Hudson Nampitjinpa. She was born in 1978 at Mt Allen Station (Yuelamu) near Yuendumu to the North West of Alice Springs. Gwenda’s style is reminiscent of her mother Maureen, which is not surprising since Maureen has passed on her stories directly to her daughters Gwenda and Jillian, who have both been painting since their teenage years. Gwenda began painting when she was just 15 years old.
In her paintings, Gwenda often depicts the rivers and sand hills of her traditional country; Warlukurlangu (Bushfire Country). She had, as a young child, travelled with her family through this country gathering native bush tucker and bush medicine around the sand hill country (known as jilja-marra-marra). The sand hills of this area are significant as they support a wide variety of flora and fauna. After any amount of decent rainfall, there is an abundance of new growth (grasses and small
shrubs) which encourage the local wildlife to return to these areas in search of food. This in turn enables the people of this land to easily hunt for these animals.
Knowledge of these vast areas of sandy country is an integral part of day to day living in this rugged environment. Being rather hilly, it is often impossible to see what kind of country lies beyond each hill. The elders of these areas have travelled through this country often enough that they very aware of which places can offer sources of food, water, medicine and shelter – and this knowledge is passed down from generation to generation.