synthetic polymer paint on linen
143 x 206 cm
Please note that prices are subject to change at the discretion of the gallery.
ID: 11364 LOCATION: Bondi Beach
Cooee Aboriginal Art Gallery, Sydney, NSW ExhibitedCollector’s Edition, August 2013, Cooee Art Gallery StoryKuntjil Cooper, a senior Pitjantjatjara artist, was born at Irrunytju rockhole around 1920. For many years she lived a semi-nomadic life in the desert around Irrunytju with her extended family. Kuntjil met 'whitefellas’ for the first time as a teenager. They gave her food, but she was wary and while pretending to eat, buried it in the sand.
'We stopped at Irrunytju rockhole for a really long time, because of that big waterhole the whitefellas dug. We’d all learnt about the whitefellas, we’d seen lot of whitefellas coming and going, so we left Irrunytju. We went to the mission down in Ernabella. While we were travelling there we heard a big noise. Maybe thunder, we thought. We didn’t know about those bombs. So we turned away and travelled north. But we did get to Ernabella. And we smelt the smoke, funny smell it made us sick. It was smoke from the bomb – that big noise. Some were dying. Diarrhoea and everything came from that smell. So we didn’t want to stop there…’
Kuntjil is a very highly regarded minyma pampa (senior woman) and respected for her extensive knowledge of the women’s tjukurpa, especially Minyma Kutjara (Two Sisters) and Minyma Tjuta (Seven Sister Dreaming) which is associated with her mother’s country.
The Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa is an epic song and dance cycle that narrates the journey of two sisters who walked north through the desert to Docker River. The route the sisters travelled can be traced through the desert, their actions often created landmarks. Nuanced, multi-layered, and especially important for the women, some aspects of the story are only told in whispers. Women’s business associated with menstruation, courtship, pregnancy, childbirth, as well as inma and rites associated with them are interwoven into the narrative. Near Irrunytju the sisters sit on two hills and made hair belts in preparation for women’s business. They threw their wanas (digging sticks) creating the rockhole called Wana Wani where Kuntjil was born.