Artists: Damien and Yilpi Marks are a husband and wife team collaborating to tell the stories of their country, particularly Damien’s homeland near Papunya. They tell both the Women’s and Men’s Dreaming stories, not only employing traditional iconography and dot work to represent sites of significance, but also a palette of vibrant and bold colours.
Damien was born in Haasts Bluff in the Northern Territory on the 10th July 1967. He later moved to Papunya with his family. His artistic influences were Clifford Possum, Billy stockman and Uta Uta Jangala, among others. His family have passed these dreamtime stories on from an early age. Damien is now a respected Ngurratjuta artist and is married to highly talented artist Yilpi Marks.
Yilpi was born in Ernabella on the 7th November 1969. She was taught the dreamtime stories by her grandparents and her parents. Her mother’s name is Tjulkiwa Atira-Atira and her father’s, Michael Atira-Atira (deceased). Both parents being very talented artists, have their artworks held by the State Gallery of South Australia and the NGA. Yilpi married Damian Marks Jangala and they lived in Damian’s country near Papunya before moving to South Australia. They now divide their time between Adelaide and Alice Springs, painting together regularly.
Story: This piece tells the story of Yilpi’s grandfather and the hailstorm that killed him. As a young man he was stubborn and didn’t listen to the elders that a big storm was coming. He went out hunting before the storm. He also wanted to perform a ceremonial dance to ward of the storm. He took the ceremonial dancing sticks, but didn’t return. The rest of the clan hid in the caves to wait out the storm and afterwards, the women went searching for the man but could not find him. In another area of the country, the children were gathering bush foods and swimming in the newly filled rock holes. Quite by accident, they happened upon the body of the young man. He had died during the storm. This story is told to the children to teach them the importance of listening to their elders.