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Nganampa Tjukurpa – Cultural Story

Sandy Willie

Acrylic on Canvas

61cm x 90cm


Paintings depict the Tjukurpa, the Law and stories of Ancestors. Anangu (Central and Western Desert Aboriginal people) have responsibilities for the protection and teaching of different Tjukurpa and there are strict protocols for the imparting of knowledge. The dotting technique has evolved with the need to adapt sacred expressions of Tjukurpa for public viewing and as a depiction of the desert landscape.

This Tjukurpa relates to the Sandy’s traditional ancestral country around Kaltukatjara (Docker River)in the south west of the Northern Territory. It is a heavily coded reference to sacred and restricted men’s Law: Watiku Tjukurpa.

He is in effect detailing a map of country that only he and other senior men can read: the Tjukurpa belongs to the custodians and an artist isn’t always free to elaborate on the story behind their work.

‘Nganampa Tjukurpa kunpu tjuta ngaranyi kana pulkara kulira walka tjunkupai. Ngayuku kutjuku wiya, nganampa tjanampa kana palupalanguru Tjukurpa wangkapai wiya. Palya nyura painting ngayuku nyakula walytjangku kulini.’

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We have many strong Creation Law stories belonging to us and I think very carefully before I paint. Its not mine alone, but belongs to my mob and others as well so therefore I don’t talk about the stories. Please look at my paintings and see what you feel in yourselves.’ Sandy Willie, 2010

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Ref: X1910



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