Kuniya Kutjara (Two Pythons)

Dallas Smythe

Kuniya Kutjara (Two Pythons)

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Walka is Desert design and inextricably linked with Tjukurpa: the Law and way of life of Anangu (Central and Western Desert Aboriginal people). The symbols were traditionally used in cave, ground and body paintings, in story telling, teaching and signalling inheritance. Meaning of the designs depends on its subject and particular people are responsible for their re-creation and teaching according to the Tjukurpa. Highly experienced craftspeople have grown up making traditional tools and weapons under the instruction of their elders. They now apply this knowledge in art such as this.

Both the dot painting and etching techniques, where walka is burnt into the wood with wire heated on a wood fire, have become Centralian traditions, evolving with the adaptation of traditional design for public display and as a depiction of Tjukurpa and landscape.

Snakes are important Tjukuritja, or Creation Ancestors who shaped the land, the people and their Law. Many of the details of Tjukurpa are restricted to senior custodians but where possible, the details of a carving’s story will be described. Snakes depicted on the lands are usually Kuniya (python), Liru (dangerous snake) or Wanampi (water serpent).

Dallas says her family told her that just before she was born they saw a big orange snake crawling across the sand. "After my mother gave birth to me, my skin was changing colour like the Rainbow Serpent, my Tjukurpa.”


Artist: Dallas Smythe
Title: Kuniya Kutjara (Two Pythons) 
Size: 90x90cm
Medium: Pyrography & Acrylic paint on plywood 

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