In Pitjantjatjara country we know that the local name for Rhipidura leucophrys is tjintir-tjintirpa. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the scientific name, if you’re musically inclined and have an ear for Australian bird songs, you might recognise tjintir-tjintirpa as an onomatopoeic rendition of the ratcheting call of the Willie Wagtail.
Being here this evening, surrounded by her work, is not all of what Sarah is about. At her opening last year I described her in the best of possible ways as a “mongrel dog”. With that description, I was describing her as central Australia’s leading advocate and activist for Aboriginal people with end stage renal disease. I described her as that because, quite simply, she is completely unafraid in her dealings with bureaucrats and politicians in her battles with them. call her that as a token of real affection. The real puzzle is that she is both mongrel dog activist, mother, carer of people within the Western Desert Renal Dialysis family—yet still finds the time to create objects of beauty and wonder.