Ngura Walytja, Antara

synthetic polymer paint on canvas
182 x 182 cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors' Group 2012
© The artist and Mimili Maku

This painting is about the artist's home, family and culture. The country is Antara, a place not far from Mimili. Antara country belonged to Mrs Pumani's uncle. Her mother and father would take her sister and brother out hunting and gathering for food from Antara. Her father would hunt for kangaroos and goannas, while her mother would take the children to gather bush tucker. Antara was a very special place for the artist, and she painted this country and the Maku Tjukurpa (witchetty grub songline) which is a significant songline for this area:

The women from Mimili would go to the waterhole north of Mimili. They would clean it out, then wait for the rain to come. When the waterhole was full with water they would tap on the water’s surface and sing Inma for Maku tjuta (enough Maku for everyone). The rock holes, hills and country are depicted in this painting.


Kunmanara (Milatjari) Pumani

Born: c.1928 Amuroona SA
Died: 2014
Yankunytjatjara language group

Art Centre: Mimili Maku, Mimili SA

Kunmanara (Milatjari) Pumani was born at Amuroona, a place situated between Indulkana and Mimili in South Australia. As a child she spent much time camping at Antara with her parents, a site known for an abundance of maku (witchetty grubs). It is this site and its narratives that become a repeating theme in her paintings.

Mrs Pumani was a highly respected senior Yankunytjatjara woman with great knowledge of Country and the custodian of many Tjukurpa (laws and creation narratives) from the region. She was also greatly involved in her community as a cultural broker – participating in translation projects and teaching crafts to fellow community members. Her daughters, artists Betty Pumani and Ngupulya Pumani, carry on her legacy.

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