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 of the details of Tjukurpa are restricted to senior custodians and it is not always possible to describe the stories involved.
Although the majority of animals carved on the lands are lizards some Anangu are increasingly specialising in stylised tjulpu tjuta or birds. All desert inhabitants, they range in size and species from the tiniest nyii-nyii or zebra finch to large walawuru, the wedge tail eagle.
Dianne has carved pititjaku-pititjaku mankurpa, three pied butcherbirds which are a black and white bird native to Australia with a beautifully melodic voice. Dianne has developed her own style of carving birds so they seem to grow out of their own stand. She uses a variety of different designs for their wings but they are usually all distinguished by large beaks and the 'feathered' walka on their bodies and branches.
Artist: Dianne Strangways
Language group: Pitjantjatjarra
Location: Indulkana, APY Lands, South Australia
Medium: 'Itara' - River Red Gum branch, Eucalyptus camaldulensis