Malara Homelands

Maringka Burton & Tanya Singer

Malara Homelands

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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 and express their world through 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.

Malara is a place of significant Wanampi Tjukurpa. Wanampi are powerful water serpents which inhabit and protect water holes. They are evidenced at Malara by the rock formation to the north of the homestead. In the Creation Time, a group of Wati Liru or poisonous snake men marched in battle across the lands as far afield as Uluru and Kata Tjuta. They arrived back in Malara in human form and rested for a while by the fire before taking becoming Wanampi and disappearing into the ground.


Artist: Maringka Burton & Tanya Singer
Title: Malara Homelands
Size: 60x60cm
Medium: Watercolour & Burnt etching on plywood

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