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Kungkarangkalpa Walka Board by Malya Teamay


Kungkarangkalpa Walka Board by Malya Teamay

Object information


Kungkarangkalpa, the Seven Sisters, travelled from Ilyarka near Curtin Springs south into the APY Lands. They are pursued by a cunning man, Wati Nyiru, who attempts to lure them into marriage with him. This painting represents a stage in that journey. It depicts Ilyarka, a clay pan close to Curtin Springs near the artist's birth country.

Mr Teamay (Personal Communication with curators Dr. Christiane Keller and Ms. Sita McAlpine on Friday 6.5.16, Yulara NT) interpreted the painting, explaining that the white dotted spaces represent the clay pan, pantu, with its white crusts of salt, remaining when rainwater evaporates. The two shapes in the clay pan are sand hills, tali. In the top left-hand corner sits Wati Nyiru watching the sisters, shown in the bottom right and middle. The sisters walked to Ilyarka, they crossed the clay pan and continued their travels via another clay pan, and from there went to Witapula.

The Seven Sisters Songline travels from the west to the east across the far western and central deserts. The sisters are pursued by a man, Yurla, who is a shape shifter with transformative powers. Yurla becomes besotted by one of the sisters and pursues them endlessly in order to possess them. Today, this saga is visible in the Orion constellation and Pleiades star cluster as a constant reminder of the consequences of attempting to possess something through wrongful means.

In the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands the lustful man Yurla is known as Wati Nyiru, and the Seven Sisters ? the Minyipuru ? become the Kungkarangkalpa. Pursuing the sisters with obsessive dedication, southwards from Irawa Bore, Wati Nyiru reveals his conflicted character in a moment of self-realisation at Walinynga (Cave Hill), where he no longer recognises his own footprint. Here, as elsewhere, knowledge is transmitted in old and new ways. Inma, or performance, is the primary mode of knowledge transfer and holds the old traditions secure; and through ceramics the elders have found an imaginative way of representing both the Seven Sisters and the bush food into which Wati Nyiru transforms himself. (Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters, NMA Press, 2017, p67)

This part of the songline begins at Irawa Bore near Wallara in the north, and extends to Alkara in South Australia. At the distinctive flat-topped mountain of Atila (Mount Conner), the sisters see Nyiru spying on them. They flee south to Witapula waterhole where they sing and splash. Frightened by Nyiru's sudden appearance, the sisters disappear underground and follow the subterranean waterways, surfacing at No. 3 Bore. But Nyiru is waiting for them, and they run south, past Mulga Park to Walinynga, where they build a spinifex shelter known today as Cave Hill. It is here that Wati Nyiru, hoping to approach the sisters 'proper way', attempts to control his desire by wrapping his excited member around his waist like a belt. But lust overcomes him, and the sisters escape from
the shelter through a small opening at the rear, and dance southwards past Kuli into other lands. (Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters, NMA Press, 2017, p87)

Physical description

A dot painting on wooden board. The painting features orange, blue, purple and reddish dots in different irregular shapes. There are eight 'u' shaped details burnt into the board the are outlineed ion white and sit within the larger shapes on the board. The outline of the larger shapes are also burnt into the board. These shapes are against a white and beige background .

Statement of significance

The collection comprises three walka boards made by bother and sister artists, Malya Teamay and Niningka Lewis in 2015 - 2016. These works represent the journey of the Seven Sisters songline across the Anangu Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands)

Malya Teamay and Niningka Lewis are two senior artists of the APY Lands. Their walka boards bring a strong narrative element to the existing National Historical Collection Seven Sisters collection. Although the Kungkarangkalpa Tjukurpa is considered a female songline, many male elders also hold knowledge and rights to this songline. In a group of male and female elders, women will often refer to their male counterparts to tell parts of the story. Kungkarangkalpa is one of the themes represented in Malya Teamay's repertoire, next to representations of the ancestral snakes, Kuniya and Liru, whose marks can be seen embedded in the rock surface of Uluru. Both Teamay and Lewis paint aspects of the Seven Sisters Tjukurpa, as they are custodians of this songline through their ancestral country. In painting this story, brother and sister contribute their own stylistic and personal interpretation of the story, which makes for rich and varied artworks.

Object information

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