Maria Pyro is a prominent figure in the Borroloola region – she is a teacher at the local school, a cultural leader and an established artist at Waralungku Arts. Maria is a Garrwa woman and works hard to teach and preserve language among young people at the local school. In previous years she was involved with the Garrwa language centre where she worked on further development of written language for Garrwa people. Growing up on country Maria’s father, Jimmy Pyro, was an amazing cultural leader and a big inspiration to her. He would organise large scale cultural events and was also a craftsman – he made hunting implements and tools. “He (Jimmy Pyro) was also a leader of our song lines that represent the map of our land and the dreamtime stories that represents individual animals…. My grandfather, Mr Ron Rickett, was the one who encouraged me to go to school every day. He would wake me up to get ready. I would usually paddle the boat across the river to get to school and for him to go to work.” Maria is a skilled painter and craftswoman. Her work is bold and striking and holds important cultural stories and messages about ceremony and kinship. She works always to keep culture strong and uses painting as a vehicle for this. She also teaches traditional painting skills to young people at the Borroloola School, and is an advocate for both tradition and positive progress.