Every spring and summer Ninuku women forage and clean tatu gum-nuts, quandong, and other seeds from the bush, which are painted to create beautiful jewellery such as necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Every piece is made by hand, by artists from Kalka, Pipalyatjara, and Irrunytju communities of the Tomkinson Ranges. Each piece has a unique motif, no two are pieces are ever the same. Gumnut jewelry is a favourite at markets and festivals, a portion of their profits also help support our daily lunch program for all artists.
About the Artist
Margaret Donegan was born in Alice Springs in 1971 to renowned artist Jimmy Donegan. As a very young girl she lived at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital, before moving to Amata where her father worked as a stockman. During the late 1970s and the “Homeland Movement”, her and her family moved to Pipalyatjara to be closer to traditional home lands. She attended the Spinifex School, a small school for the local Pipalyatjara children.
As an adult she soon moved to Blackstone, a remote community in Western Australia. It was in Blackstone where she began her career as a painter and arts worker. Both Margaret and her mother were involved in crafting the ‘Tjanpi Toyota’; a lifesize replica of a Toyota Landcruiser made from woven grass. The Tjanpi Toyota won the Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award in 2005.
Today Margaret lives with her family in Kalka where she continues to build her arts practice in painting, ‘punu’ (wood carving) and ‘tjanpi’ (grass weaving). Her crafts are inspired by ‘tjukurpa’ (tradiational stories), including those associated with ‘Minyma Kutjarra’, ‘Wati Ngintaka’ and ‘Kungkarrakalpa’. She is also a dedicated arts worker at Ninuku Arts Centre.