Tjulpu Mankurpa (Three Birds)

Dianne Strangways Profile & Artworks

Tjulpu Mankurpa (Three Birds)

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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 does not specify the species of bird in mind when she carves, but her homelands of Indulkana in the APY Lands SA, hold the totem of the owl, and many refer to her birds as nightjars or tawny frogmouths. 


Artist: Dianne Strangways
Language Group: Pitjantjatjara.
Location: Indulkana, APY Lands, South Australia. 
Medium: 'Itara' - River Red Gum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis 
Combined dimensions (mm): 400 x 250 x 90

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