Polly Pawuya Jackson (nee Butler) is an artist belonging to the Ngaanyatjarra language and cultural group in Western Australia. Pawuya was born in the bush in 1957 at a soak called Yulpigari, close to Partupirri (Bunglebiddy rockhole) near Tjukurla community in Western Australia. She spent her childhood in this area with her family, occasionally visiting the communities at Kaltukatjara (Docker River) and Warburton. She later moved to Warakurna Community when it was incorporated in the 1970s and raised her two sons there. Pawuya continues to live in Warakurna where she is surrounded by her grandchildren and family.
Pawuya’s fibre artwork is characterised by tight wrapping of brightly coloured wool and fine, embroidery-like stitching. Her high-calibre artwork was first exhibited in 2013 at the Fingers and Petals exhibition at Ellenbrook Gallery in Perth then as part of Bush Life in 2014 at Nomad Gallery in Darwin. More recently Pawuya contributed to the wati (man/husband) sculpture to the Early Days Family artwork exhibited at Desert Mob 2016 in Alice Springs, an artwork that was then acquired by Araluen Arts Centre as part of their permanent collection.
In addition to her fibre artwork, Pawuya is a well-respected painter, represented by Warakurna Artists and has exhibited numerous times in this medium. Importantly, Pawuya has two paintings held in the national collection at the National Museum of Australia, Making Culture Strong and Tjanpi. The Tjanpi painting depicts the process of collecting grass for baskets and sculptures and represents the beautiful interrelationships between her two chosen mediums.
Pawuya is a compassionate and thoughtful woman who does not let anyone go by without asking how they are. Her generosity knows no bounds and she is a pillar of support to her family and community.