Desert painting is inextricably linked with the Tjukurpaor the Law and way of life of Anangu(Central and Western Desert Aboriginal people). Meaning of the designs depends on the subject and particular people are responsible for their re-creation and teaching according to the Tjukurpa. The dotting technique has become a Centralian tradition, evolving with the adaptation of traditional painting for public display and as a depiction of the landscape.
Malya's “Broken Law’ theme was first painted by his brother over twenty years ago. It is a story of strong culture, the results of contact with non-Aboriginal people and then the positive outcomes of true reconciliation.
The first part of the painting describes traditional, pre-contact life in the desert. The Tjukurpa or Ancestral law and way of life is shown by the strong black line with its links in country and kin. The ‘u’ shape figures are Anangu sitting together around fires, untroubled as they follow their ancestors’ ways. With the coming of non-Aboriginal people, piranpaor ‘whitefellas’, some traditions begin to be overturned in ways Anangu have no precedence for dealing with. There are mixed blood marriages and rapes, alcohol is introduced and after a generation of this the children of alcoholics take to petrol. Malya has painted the graves of people dying too young. The ancestors’ Tjukurpa is breaking up. Malya then shows the process of reconciliation through people sitting down together. He sees a positive future in which Anangu and non-Anangu share their problems, finding solutions by open discussion and mutual respect. In this way the Tjukurpa will be strong and protective again.
Artist: Malya Teamay Title: Broken Law Size: 92 x 61 cm Medium: Acrylic on canvas