Wati wiilu-ku inma Tjukurpa
(Male bush stone curlew ancestral creation story)
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
155 x 184 cm
South Australian Government Grant 2011
Art Gallery of South Australia
© The artist and Ernabella Arts
This painting is based on inma (ceremony) about a bird that is very special to Dickie. It's the male bush stone curlew (wiilu) and comes from a place near Kanpi in the APY Lands. It dances and sings at night time - a nocturnal bird. It lives near waterholes (the circles). It has a very loud wailing call. This bird is now rare, as is the inma that is danced by few men, Dickie being one of them. It is thought the decline of species such as the wiilu may relate to the fact that the tradition of inma and Anangu using songs and dances to call to their totems and keep them strong is fading.
note: Kunmanara is a term of respect used to replace the first name of Anangu who have died.
Born: c.1915, Pilpirinyi, Western Australia
Pitjantjatjara language group
Art Centre: Ernabella Arts, Pukatja SA
Dickie Minyintiri was a significant senior Anangu law man, respected Ngankari (Traditional healer) and celebrated artist from this region.
Dickie remembered his early life as a child travelling with his parents across the country that is now known as Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands; when his family first came to Ernabella, before the mission days, they were the first people there, and Dickie was able to point out landmarks such as rocky outcrops, waterholes and caves where his family camped. He also remembered the first ‘whitefella’ coming to Ernabella, the first building and the entire establishment of the Ernabella Mission.
He spent many years working hard as a shearer and a shepherd before painting at Ernabella Arts Inc from late 2005. Dickie rose to national prominence in 2011, on winning the overall Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award.