Contemporary carvings byAnangu(Central and Western Desert Aboriginal people) are known aspunu, hand carved and decorated withwalka: patterns burnt into the wood with wire heated on a wood fire. The animals all have their associations with theTjukurpa, 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 but where possible, the details of a carving’s story will be described.
Snakes carved on the lands are usuallyKuniya(python), Liru (dangerous snake) orWanampi(water serpent) and have connections with the Tjukurpa dependent on the artist, their kin and country.
PiltatiTjukurpa in the ranges of north west South Australia relates how two women of the Creation Time travelled far from their husbands as they hunted. The men pursued them and turned into Wanampi and waited to ambush their wives. The four then joined and became the serpent of Piltati Waterhole.
Kuniya and Liru are particularly significant in the Creation Law of Uluru and features of the rock itself were shaped by a battle in which a Wati Kuniya was speared and later avenged by his aunt, who killed one of the warriors in the army of Wati Liru tjuta from the west. The Kuniya woman and her nephew then became Wanampi in one of the waterholes of the rock.
Artist: Dianne Strangways Title: Snakes Kutjara (Two Snakes) Size: 1000x300x130mm Medium: 'Itara - River red gum root, Eucalyptus camaldulensis