Uluruku Tjukurpa

Neil Coulthard

Uluruku Tjukurpa

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Paintings depict the Tjukurpa, the Law and stories of Ancestors. Anangu (Central and Western Desert Aboriginal people) have responsibilities for the protection and teaching of different Tjukurpa and there are strict protocols for the imparting of knowledge. The dotting technique has evolved with the need to adapt sacred expressions of Tjukurpa for public viewing and as a depiction of the desert landscape.

Uluru is a place of powerful Tjukurpa, the main public elements of which are depicted in this painting. Mala, Rufous Hare-wallaby people, travelled from the north to perform ceremonies, but while at Uluru, were attacked and chased away by evil Kurpany, a giant, magic monster dingo sent in from the west. They are represented by their tracks.

Kuniya, the python, came from the east bearing the eggs of her children to be born in their homeland at Uluru. Liru, the venomous snake, came with his army from the western country to make war on Kuniya. In fierce battle Kuniya’s nephew was speared and the warriors turned back to their homeland. Seeking vengeance for her kin, the Kuniya woman struck down one of the Liru warriors and the rock holds the presence of these ancestors still.

This work of Neil's is distinctive for its use of black and white. He also shows Atila and Kata Tjuta to the east and west of Uluru and has used the distinctive leaf motif of the bush medicine irmangka-irmangka or Scented Emu Bush (Eremophila alternifolia) as the background. The leaves are ground and mixed with animal fat or oil to make a rubbing medicine for muscular aches and lung congestion. They can also be steeped in hot water and drunk as a tea or applied to wounds as an antiseptic. 


Artist: Neil Coulthard
Title: Uluruku Tjukurpa
Size: 46 x 95cm
Medium: Acrylic on Canvas

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