Contemporary carvings by Anangu (Central and Western Desert Aboriginal people) are known as punu, hand carved and decorated with walka, patterns burnt into the wood with wire heated on a wood fire. The animals all have their associations with the Tjukurpa, the stories of the Creation Ancestors and the activities which shaped the land, the people and their Law. Many details of Tjukurpa are restricted to senior custodians and it is not possible to describe this animal’s story.
Kurkati, tinka, milpali or sand goannas, live in the sandhills and plains country and 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.
They are also among the most widely carved of animals on the lands. Being such a highly prized food it’s no wonder that close study of its every move for centuries has led to it being so widely carved on the lands in the last few decades.
Artist: Brenda James
Language Group: Pitjantjatjarra
Location: Docker River, Northern Territory
Medium: 'Itara' - River Red Gum root, Eucalyptus camaldulensis