aynthetic polymer paint on canvas
200 x 216.5 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, NGV Supporters of Indigenous Art, 2008
© The artist and Tjungu Palya

Piltati is a significant place for the Wanampi Tjukurpa (Water Snake Creation Story). This work is related to a part of the story associated with the Piltati landscape:

One day the sisters decided to eat the food themselves because they were tired of always getting food for the two men. The brothers were really angry at the women for eating all the food and said "we might turn ourselves into spirit birds and trick the two sisters". They talked about their idea for a long time and finally agreed to turn into wanampi (giant water serpents).

The next day when the sisters went out digging for kuka they saw the mark of a large kuniya (snake) and got really happy thinking they would have a big feed. They were digging here, at that snake hole, digging and digging deep, but after lots of hard work they only dug up a little snake. They dug many holes looking for that big feed, but that wanampi was too clever for them. They dug deeper and deeper for many days trying to get to what they thought was a really big kuniya (carpet snake). The big sister's wana (digging stick) cut into the side of one of the brothers. The two brothers came out of the hole and ate the two sisters.



Kunmanara (Eileen) Yaritja Stevens

Born: c.1919 in the bush at Makiri
Died: 2008

Pitjantjatjara language group
Art Centre: Tjungu Palya, Nyapari

Kunmanara (Eileen Yaritja) Stevens was born in the bush at Makiri, Tjala Minyma Tjukurpa (Honeyant Women’s sacred place). Her father was a Yankunytjatjara man and her mother a Pitjantjatjara woman. When she was a young woman she worked at Ernabella mission milking goats. Her husband also worked at Ernabella chopping trees for building projects. Later they came to Nyapari, Mrs Steven’s husband’s country. Mrs Stevens passed away in February 2008. She was 89 and still singing and painting at Tjungu Palaya art centre with a passion and energy.

note: Kunmanara is a term of respect used to replace the first name of Anangu who have died.