Barngi Pansy Sambo was born out bush on a claypan on the pastoral station near Wittenoom Gorge in the Pilbara where her parents were working. Barngi says, “I grew up mostly on the station. We used to create our own activities, going out looking for bush food all the time. We mostly ate bush food as well as the rations we were given. There was no pay in those days. In 1959 we were moved to Roebourne. Native Welfare herded us all up and took us to the Roebourne Reserve.” Barngi went to primary school in Roebourne and then won a scholarship to go to Perth where she completed years 8, 9 and 10 at Hollywood High School and then studied to be a nursing aide at Shenton Park Annex and Royal Perth Hospital. On returning to the Pilbara, Barngi worked at Port Hedland Hospital for a while before coming back to Roebourne where she married and had two sons. She now has three grandsons. Barngi works for Community Health and Roebourne is her home, where all her family live. Her father was recognised on Australia Day in 2010 with a Caring for Country Award. At the age 104 he was still working every day as a translator and passing on his knowledge of language and country. Barngi started painting in 2008. She would come into Yinjaa-Barni Art Centre to visit family and watch them working. She bought some paints and brushes, did a couple of paintings on paper at home and brought them into the centre. With a little instruction, Barngi soon began to produce beautiful works on larger canvases. Recently she has started experimenting with oil paint and acrylic on the same canvas, finding that oil paint enables her to achieve the effect that she is after. Barngi likes to capture her country on canvas – the spinifex, flowers and plants that she remembers from when she was a child living on the station with her grandfather and parents. She has a wonderful feel for colour and a natural ability to capture the essence of the Pilbara in her own unique style. As she works during the day, Barngi mostly paints at home in her spare time.




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Current Artworks