Wanampi Warrior (Water Serpant)

Isaac Lewis

Wanampi Warrior (Water Serpant)

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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.

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 are located. These ancestors are always treated with special reverence and respect for their powers and waterholes are never approached lightly.

Coded in the Creation or Law stories is the information needed to hunt and survive and dot paintings are a contemporary way of continuing to celebrate and teach through the Tjukurpa.


Artist: Isaac Lewis
Title: Wanampi Warrior
Size: 30x30cm
Medium: Pyrography & Acrylic Paint on Plywood

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