Billy Atkins (Yunkurra) | Artist Profile

Details of Billy Atkins (Yunkurra)


Yunkarra was born at Weld Springs, also known as Well 9 on the Canning Stock Route. He grew up in that country and around Wiluna, but returned north to his traditional country, which inludes Lake Disappointment. Savory Creek and Jilakurru: Closer to well 24 on the CSR. Yunkurra is a very knowledgeable senior Martu man and an authority on these important Martu places. He narrowly avoided being taken away by missionaries as a child (The old people told him to run into the bush and hide and so he did not get taken away, although some other children did) and subsequently grew up with the elderly people, learning about country in the traditional way. Yunkarra now lives at Jigalong with his wife, children and grandchildren, close to his home country.

Yunkarra has been painting longer than other Martu artists and has worked as an independent artist since the early 2000's, painting and carving artefacts. His work was also selected for the 2003 NATSIAA and in 2004 he held a solo exhibition of his work at the Courthouse Arts Centre and the Gallery in Port Hedland. The National Gallery of Australia has purchased his work and in 2005 he participated in an artists' exchange program through the Wilin Centre at the Victorian College of the Arts. Yunkarra ia s Maru elder and he has been instrumental in the establishment of Martumili Artists and continues to participate in group exhibitions.

Carving - wood
Painting - oil on canvas
Painting - Acrylic on canvas

2015 Billy Yunkurra Atkins Selected Works
2014 - Yunkurra Billy Atkins Solo Show William Mora Galleries
2010 Pretty One - The Art of Billy Atkins, William Mora Galleries, Melbourne
2004 Jila Ngurru (Snake Camp), Courthouse Gallery, Port Hedland, WA

2017 Port Hedland Art Award, Courthouse Gallery, Port Hedland, WA
2017 - NATSIAA, MAGNT, Darwin, NT
2016 - Desert Mob
2016 - Hedland Art Awards
2015 - Martumili Artists
2015 - Pukurlpa - Good Inside
2014 - Martumili
2014 - Desert Mob
2014 - Flickerfest Film Festival, Sydney
2013 - Desert Animation: Same But Different, Experimentation and Innovation in Desert Arts, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Walesm Sydney
2013 - Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh
2013 - 19th International Symposium on Electronic Art, Carriageworks, Sydney
2013 - A Study of the Figurative in Desert Painting, Short St Gallery, Broome WA
2012 Warla: an explanation of the salt lakes in the Great Sandy Desert, Short Street Gallery, Broome
2011 Martumili Artists, Outback Fusion Festival, Newman
2011 Living Water - Contemporary Art of the Far Western Desert, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
2011 Desert Mob, Alaluen Centre, Alice Springs
2011 Waru! Holding Fire in Australia's Western Desert, Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery, Stanford University, San Francisco
2011 Yiwarra Kuju - One Road, One People, Perth Convention Exhibition Centre, Perth
2011 Yiwarra Kuju - One Road, One People, Australian Museum, Sydney
2010 Jakulpa laju kartyinpa (Bringing a message), Chapman Gallery, Canberra
2010 Yiwarra Kuju - One Road, One People, National Museum of Australia, Canberra
2010 Warla Tjartrjal - Edge of the Lake, Short St. Gallery, Broome. WA
2009 Yankuni Laju Karnkani Kujungka (We are travelling together by air) ReDot Gallery, Singapore.
2009 Warranpalampaju kayili yaninpa (Our country travelling north) Raft Art Space, Darwin.
2009 Puntu Kurnu (Belongs to the People), Newman Visitors Centre, Newman.
2008 Jitirangu (Rainbow), Randell Lane Gallery, Perth WA
2008 Ngurra Waltja wakarni (We are painting Country), Short St. Gallery, Broome. WA
2008 Martumili Artists, Port Hedland Courthouse Arts Centre and Gallery, Port Hedland. WA
2008 Laltu tujuparaku, yulpalpa yirnaparaku (lots of women, little bit men) Aboriginal& Pacific Art, Sydney. NSW
2007 Martu-la wakarnu kuwarri wiyaju, William Mora Galleries, Melbourne, VIC

2017 Winner (Most Outstanding Work), Port Hedland Art Award, Port Hedland, WA
2017 Finalist, NATSIAA, MAGNT, Darwin, NT
2003 Highly commended, NATSIAA, MAGNT, Darwin, NT


National Museum of Australia
National Gallery of Victoria

Artworks of Billy Atkins (Yunkurra)