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Papa tjuta Tjukurpa (camp dogs story)

acrylic on linen
60 x 91 cm
W & V McGeoch Collection, Melbourne
© The artist and Ernabella Arts

As an elderly, senior woman, Nura began expressing stories from her childhood particularly concerning mamu (spooky spirits or monsters) but also tjiti (children) and papa (dogs). This painting is about all the camp dogs in Pukatja (Ernabella), where some people have as many as ten dogs each as companions. She says: Papa tjuta ngura uwankara (There are many dogs everywhere).

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Nura Rupert

Born: 1933 Tjitapiti, near Amata SA
Pitjantjatjara language group
Art Centre: Ernabella Arts, Pukatja SA

Nura Rupert was born at Tjitapiti, near Angatja, at the eastern end of the Mann Ranges in 1933. After her family moved to the Ernabella mission, as a young teenage girl, Nura learned weaving at the craft room and also made hooked floor rugs and knitted jumpers for the men working at the mission. She learned wood carving (punu) and pokerwork making snakes, birds, tingka (donkeys), wira (carrying dishes), and rabbits.

When Ernabella Arts became involved in the Beanie Festival around 2000, Nura came back to the art centre initially to make mukata (beanies), but also became involved in the exploration of painting with acrylics on canvas or paper.