The Men are Singing the Song. (6 individual panels)
Six senior Spinifex artists move as one within a different sized and primed linen, shaping their own Country into the available area whilst aware of others doing the same nearby. The result is a majestic collaborative effort that sits together as a testament to the individual magic created. Each has depicted a portion of a much larger story, of a sweeping country with a multitude of sites that inter-connect within the Song, a landscape that echoes with characters and moral framework which live on in the daily lives of people today.
Roy Underwood moves his magic onto the canvas using the brush like a magicians’ wand, marking the Country that will become the Story, bringing the Creation into the present. Roy and his ambidextrous deft hands allow Miramiratjara to surface, painting the Two Men Creation Journey as he paints the landscape, willing the beings to appear. Miramiratjara, is an especially significant site in the heart of traditional Spinifex Country that has huge bald sand hills protruding skyward and these can be seen from a great distance away like a swell breaking in the distance. It is one of the few sites in the Great Victoria Desert that has permanent fresh water and as such was traditionally peopled on a regular basis often with associated ceremony. Miramiratjara holds the Wati Kutjara Tjukurpa or Two Men Creation Line, a powerful tragedy of greed and revenge that forms part of the moral compass that guides people on a daily basis. It is this continual presence of the Tjukurpa that transcends the daily life of Spinifex People and allows them to hold a sustaining existence with each other and the Country that surrounds.
Simon Hogan walks within the Story, allowing the significant site of Lingka to manifest upon the canvas, moving the Wanari (Mulga) tree to within reach of the precious waters that lay within. These trees signify the physical landscape that surround the Song and a symbol of the need for water by all things. Simon transcends the daily physical realm when painting the significant sites that still inhabit him and allow him to move through the landscape of the canvas.
Ned Grant takes the canvas underground through ‘Anpiri’ the taproot at the base of the Ngalta (Desert Kurrajong) always turning, twisting the markings as he follows the paths to life affirming water sites. Ned weaves the story to Palpatatjara, his place of birth and that of the Nyii Nyii Tjukurpa (Zebra Finch Creation Line) a powerful Mens story that is highly secretive. These are the paths that the first beings travelled shaping the landscape as they went, bringing the physical into the daily reality for the Spinifex People allowing them the Story to follow.
Ian Rictor sweeps the convex rock holes of his linage onto the canvas, filling the space with the landscape he knows intimately. Kamanti, Tuwan and Tjilutjipi come into being. He expands the area with traveling lines, Songlines, routes from where the significant sites were created and where the first beings still reside. These sites still wait for him, sitting quietly, whispering the Song that he walked long before today.
Lawrence Pennington touches the deepest qualities of the Tjukurpa in the unseen, the concealed, taking the broad brush to minimal resemblance of the characters that inhabited the first journey. He guides them effortlessly onto the canvas, channeling the essence of the significant sites from a time before when Lawrence walked the landscape within the Song. Here he brings forth Wati Kutjara or the Two Men, a father and son who traverse the Spinifex Country creating the landscape as they move through it and leaving the physical reminders of their power and presence.
Byron Brooks places large tracts of his country upon the canvas with marked ease, singing the song through the brush, surrounding the sites with multiple travel lines. Byron remembers the well-worn paths that he paints with the Minyma Tjuta Tjukurpa beginning for him at Pirapi and following as the story unfolds over multiple sites. He recreates the journey and the maps that live in the landscape as people traversed it.
This painting Kungkarangkalpa or better known as Seven Sisters has been painted by seven Spinifex women; Ngalpingka Simms, Kanta Donnegan, Lorraine Davies, Tracey Simms, Dora Parker, Sophia Brown and Katie Brown.
his is a womens Tjukurpa which traverses vast tracts of Spinifex country and beyond. In fact this is such a significant story that the womens tracks and creation sites are found all over Australia. The women here have painted country from Patjar in the north of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands of Western Australia following a songline travelling south into southern Spinifex Country.
The women ere camped at a site called Tika-tika and Kalumara just south of Patjarr. Many of the rock holes in the surrounding country were made by these ancestral beings and they were digging for food and water.The women are depicted here sitting down by the semi circular motifs and their foot prints lead to the rock holes.
Then they headed south of Warburton to the sites near Snake Well called Tjawl-tjawl and Piyul. All the while the women were trying to evade the pursuit of the lustful old man Wati Nyiiru. The man is sitting by his fire inside his windbreak with his spear and spear thrower. He has been sneaky and built several yuu’s (shelters from trees) to give him cover as he spies on the women. He desperately wants the elder sister to be his wife, but she doesn’t want the old man.
The women keep moving heading to Uturi, to get away from him but he still follows them. They pass by Pur-purnya country which holds the dangerous men ’s story. The two serpent beings a father and son have been out on initiation business. These men are from Pukara.
The women continue south into the heartland of Spinifex country making numerous rockholes and performing sacred rituals along the way. At Kuru Ala the man catches one of the women and cause her injury but she escapes to the cave and the care of her sisters who spend time healing her.
Then the pass through Tjuntjunya, Kapi Piti Kutjara, Tjalkinya, Kanka, Wangulpinya and Pirapi.
Although each women knows this major Tjukurpa, they are bound by cultural protocol and custodial responsibility as to which country they can depict. As the country and Tjukurpa unfolds during the creation of a major work like this, the women ‘sing the place’ into reality. Traditional inma (singing and dancing) is triggered as the depictions of places, that the women may not have physically seen for many years, begin to manifest onto the canvas.
Seven women: Dora Parker, Ivy Laidlaw, Myrtle Pennington, Ngalpingka Simms, Tracey Simms, Sophia Brown and Kanta Donnegan, have painted this Seven Sisters story, a major Western Desert Tjukurpa that traverses Spinifex Country at numerous sites. The story pertains to the creaon of the landscape and details the women’s travels as they sing inma, collect bush foods and pursue a giant python, as they are in turn pursued closely by the lustful wati Nyiru (man). Specific events in this story where the women intersect with Nyiru, form geographic and culturally important sites, many which are for women only. At Tuntunya rockhole which is Kanta Donnegan’s country she tells the story of the sisters painting their nipples getting ready for ceremony. The word for nipple is tuntun in Spinifex language. Sophia Brown painted a site called Kulyuru her grandfather’s place, where the women chase the python who forms a large hole in the rock as he escapes. A tree overlooking the canyon at Kulyuru is Nyiru, never far from the sisters. The python winds its way across the landscape of Kulyuru creating a large creek bed. At Kuru Ala in the north of Spinifex country one of the women is grabbed by Nyiru, she is later healed by her sisters in the cave. The women’s journey and sites travelled are represented by the many rockholes or roundels in this painting. Wati Nyiru is represented by his camp and spear and can be seen in numerous places across this canvas. Ivy Laidlaw has painted the women sitting in their camp, with Wati Nyiru waiting nearby, with his spear and spear thrower. Dora Parker has painted the site of Purpurnya. Ngalpingka and Tracey Simms, mother and daughter, have worked together to paint Wayiyul country close to Karilywara (Patjarr) in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands of Western Australia. It is where Ngalpingka was born and grew up living a traditional nomadic life with her family. She knows this country intimately, in both a physical and spiritual sense. The seven sisters camped at Wayiyul and Nyiru has been stalking them, camping some distance from where they stop and hiding behind his windbreak, poking his head over to take a look. The women are disturbed by his constant pursuing of them and quickly take off to camp away from him. They travel to (roundels are the sites) Karilywara, Miputjara, Tikatika, Wanarn and Yalara.
The younger women who worked on this painting continue to learn the details of this extensive story under the guidance of their senior close relatives. These women will be the bearers of this story for the following generations and express the story through painting and other contemporary art forms. The younger artists are; Tracey Simms, Dora Parker, and Sophia Brown.