Monica Puntjina Watson_Pukara_Ninuku and Outstation.jpg


acrylic on Belgian linen
183 x 153 cm
Courtesy Ninuku Arts & Outstation Gallery, Darwin
© The artist and Ninuku Arts

This is a story about kaliny-kalinypa (Honey Grevillea plant), which Anangu use as a type of bush lolly:

A father and son, Wati Kutjara Wanampi (two male water snakes) are living at Pukara, an important waterhole site near Irrunytju (Wingellina). Because of the kaliny-kalinypa found at the site the water there has a sweet taste and lots of people go there to access it. But father Wati Wanampi doesn’t like this and he tells them to go back to their own country.

The people leave and the father and son travel to Willuna, where they camp for weeks. When they return to Pukara, they are awoken by a buzzing sound. Minyma Punpunpa (the female flies) are making lots of noise as they buzz around the honey bush. This prompts the father and son to get up to go and collect honey. While they are doing this, a Wati Mututa (black ant) finds the father and son, and spears the son in his side. The young son starts spitting and he spits up the yellow and orange seeds of all the different types of honey grevillea.


Puntjina Monica Watson

Born: c.1940 Pukara WA
Pitjantjatjara language group
Art Centre: Ninuku Arts, Kalka

Monica Puntjina Watson was born circa 1940 at Pukara, an important rockhole and water snake Tjukurpa site in Western Australia. As a young girl, she walked to Pukatja (Ernabella) with her father and his three wives - the youngest of them was celebrated artist Wingu Tingima. Puntjina worked in the craft room at Ernabella until she married Wimitja Watson and moved with him to Amata, where they had many children. The family wanted to be closer to their home country so during the homelands movement of the late 1970s they moved to Pipalyatjara.

Monica is an important elder in Pipalyatjara. Both she and her husband are heavily involved in cultural business and travel across much of the area to participate in it. Monica is a committed artist, painting every day at Ninuku Arts.