The piti or wooden bowl is a traditional woman’s carrying vessel for food and water usually carved from the trunk of a Desert Bloodwood or a root section of the river Red Gum tree. Contemporary artists use walka, patterns burnt into the wood with wire heated on a wood fire. These relate Tjukurpa, stories about the Tjukuritja or Creation Ancestors and the activities which shaped the land, the people and their Law. Many of the details of Tjukurpa are restricted to senior custodians so it is not possible to describe the full story behind the walka.
Dianne doesn’t elaborate on the stories behind her walka, however she shows many of the animals and plants that populate the lands. Their various ancestors were responsible for creating important parts of her country and way of life. The most common snakes to appear in design are the kuniya, liru and wanampi: pythons, deadly snakes and water serpents, guardians of waterholes. Sometimes they are depicted with their eggs.
Minyma tjuta, Central Desert women, traditionally travelled through their country hunting for kurkati, tinka, milpali or sand goannas living in the sand hills and plains country. The ngintaka, a large spotted perentie lizard is more often found in rocky areas and both these lizards have always been an important source of kuka (meat) for Anangu of this area. They are still hunted in the spring and summer time when they have ended their underground hibernation and can easily be tracked across the red sands.
Artist: Dianne Strangways Title: Piti (Women's Collecting Bowl) Size: (mm) L 380 x W205 x H155 weight: 1.5kg Medium: 'Itara' - River Red Gum branch, Eucalyptus camaldulensis.