An engrossing new publication, Desert Lake: art, science, and stories from Paruku edited by the team of Steve Morton, Mandy Martin, Kim Mahood, and John Carty. Paruku, situated between the desert and Kimberley regions of Western Australia, is the remarkable Walmajarri Country (Lake Gregory). It is Walmajarri land, and its people live on their Country in communities of Mulan and Billiluna. Desert Lake is a triumph of cross-cultural work and a work of rare beauty in its lavish photography of the region’s natural wonders, and in the reproductions of masterful artworks created by two Indigenous groups of the Great Sandy Desert working on often astonishing collaborations that combine aesthetic excellence, narrative, poetry, and scientific observation.
The book opens with a suite of photographs and paintings interspersed with short versions of the major Dreaming narratives of the country, those of the falling star, the two dingoes, the ancient snakes, and Jinyjil, the fertility stone that lies on the lake’s edge. This gorgeous publication provides keys to understand visually what is depicted on canvas and celebrates the diversity and beauty of Paruku people lands.
Desert Lake was developed with the assistance of the Research School of Humanities and the Arts, ANU, where the editors met regularly throughout 2012 to bring the project to fruition.