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 and express their world through 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.
Wanampi or Water Serpents, are powerful creatures that inhabit and guard over waterholes. Local custodians hold the stories of the ancestors’ activities at specific sites across the country and thus know where the Wanampi responsibilities for the protection and teaching of different Tjukurpa and there are strict protocols for the imparting of knowledge. These ancestors are always treated with special reverence and respect for their powers and waterholes are never approached lightly.
This walka board is a contemporary way of continuing to celebrate, teach and live life through the Tjukurpa. It reflects strong and enduring culture: re-enacting ancestral travels, celebrating the sacred nature of the country and its interrelated plant, animal and human inhabitants. It passes on to you some of the teachings of Tjukurpa.
Artist : Mary Pan Title : Wanampi ~ Water Serpents Size :L600 x W600 mm Medium : Pyrography on plywood