Kuniya Tjukurpa (Python Woman)

Rita Rolley

Kuniya Tjukurpa (Python Woman)

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This walkaboard was made during the Close of the Climb Inma Celebration gathering at Mutitjulu 2019. 

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 in 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.

The Kuniya or Python Snake people have lived at Uluru since the Tjukurpa or Creation Times. One senior Kuniya woman had been away for some time and wished to return to Uluru. Travelling from Waltanta (Erldunda) in the east and camping at Pakupaku near Mt Connor, she carried her eggs around her throat like a necklace.

Nearing Uluru, she sensed that all was not well so she hurriedly placed her eggs at Kuniya Piti for safe keeping and headed around to the western side of the rock. A Warmala or revenge party of Liru men, Dangerous Snake ancestors, had speared her nephew. In extreme grief and rage she attacked and killed one of the Liru warriors at Mutitjulu Waterhole. With her digging stick she pounded her grief into the head of the Liru man. Remaining in evidence of her revenge are two long gashes in the side of the rock at the site of her battle.

Details

Artist: Rita Rolley
Language group: Pitjantjatjarra
Location: Fregon, APY LANDS SA
Medium:fencing wire pyrography & acrylic painting on plywood 
Dimensions (mm): 200 x 200mm
Weight: 0.4kg

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