Pantu, Tali munu puli (salt lake, sand dunes and rock)
Pantu, Tali munu puli (salt lake, sand dunes and rock)

Cynthia Burke Profile & Artworks

Pantu, Tali munu puli (salt lake, sand dunes and rock)

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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.

Cynthia has created a ngura or landscape of tali, puli munu pantu: sand dunes, rocky outcrops and a salt lake.  By their very nature landforms also mark sites related to the Creation Ancestors’ journeys across the country; the ‘dreaming tracks’ followed by countless generations of Anangu since. They created landforms and customs to be passed on and maintained over subsequent generations. The sites are linked through inma or ceremony - the singing, dancing and body painting which reveals the laws of nature and provides a blue print for life and a guiding map of country.


Artist: Cynthia Burke

Size: 50cm X 50cm

Medium: burnt etching on plywood



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