Wira (Collecting Bowl)
Wira (Collecting Bowl)

Lulu Cooley

Wira (Collecting Bowl)

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The wira is a smaller version of the piti or wooden bowl which is a traditional woman’s carrying vessel for food and water. It is used in many ways including as a ladle for collecting water and for digging with. Contemporary artists use walka, patterns burnt into the wood with wire heated on a wood fire. These relate Tjukurpa, stories about the Tjukuritja or 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 so it is not possible to describe the full story behind the walka.

Lulu remembers learning her carving skills from her mother and other female relatives in the 1960s. Since Creation times women have been responsible for making their own wooden tools, most importantly the digging stick and collecting bowls. They must learn designs relating to ceremony and story telling for country and kinship. Long and close observation of her mother’s work  led to Lulu’s beautiful, distinctive ‘scallop’ style.  Now a consummate carver of many years experience, she specialises in piti and wira, as well as walka boards. Her husband Billy, master carver in his own right, assists Lulu with the carving of her bowls.


Artist: Lulu Cooley
Language: Pitjantjatjara
Location: Mutitjulu
Size: 320x78x47mm
Medium: Kurumaru, Wheel Fruit Tree

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