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Arrente Country

acrylic on canvas
100 x 140 cm
Dan and Diane Mossenson Collection
© The artist and Iwantja Arts

Whiskey has painted Arrernte country. He said these paintings were him remembering that place where he used to work. He remembered that there was lots of good tucker around Arrernte country, and men and women would often go hunting for rabbits and other bush meats. Whiskey's former work as a cowboy, and the journeys he made mustering cattle all over the desert as a young man, form a strong part of his sense of identity. As an older man, Whiskey liked to recall through his paintings that very influential time of his life and the places he felt most connected to.

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Kunmanara (Whiskey) Tjukangku

Born: 1939
Died: 2015
Yankunyjatjara language group

Art Centre: Iwantja Arts, Indulkana SA

Senior Yankunytjatjara elder and Ngankari (traditional healer) Kunmanara (Whiskey) Tjukangku was one of the first art men of Indulkana, and a founding member of Iwantja Arts and Crafts. In his words, ‘I was the first man to start being an artist at Iwantja, so I was the original member … I paint a lot and I learned linocuts at Iwantja. I remember culture designs that no one else knows.’

Mr Tjukangku grew up in both Pukatja (Ernabella) and De Rose Hill (SA). He says: ‘When I was a young boy I worked on a cattle station and learnt about cattle. When I grew to be a teenager I worked hard with the cattle in other stations doing mustering and trucking them ready for travel. As a little boy, I sat there on the station for a long time with a camel and Ernie Bagger who owned camel at Granite Downs (Indulkana). I couldn't say my Aboriginal name when I was young so one day I got a new name. I got my name "Whiskey" from Eric whose camel had that same name.’

As a young man he worked as a desert stockman alongside life-long friends and painting colleagues Alec Baker, Peter Mungkuri, and Jimmy Pompey.