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. In this walka board the curved lines represent tali or sand dunes. The many dots describe the flora found in the desert landscape and the larger white dots running through depicts a road telling us of travel through the land. This design is specific to the Cooley Family and is being been handed down by master carvers Billy and Lulu Cooley.
Artist: Joanne Cooley Language Group: Pitjantjatjara Location: Mutijtulu, NT Medium: pyrography and acrylic paint on plywood Size: 30 x 30cm