Nyanu Watson

Ninuku Arts

Nyanu Watson was born in 1951 at a sacred site just outside of Pukatja, a community in South Australia that is also known as Ernabella. During her early years, she worked at the Ernabella Mission where she spun and dyed wool that was used to make rugs. Later in life, she moved to the neighbouring community of Amata, where she worked at the local store and cooked meals for the school children. During the 1970’s and the “Homeland Movement”, Nyanu travelled west to the community of Kalka, where she continues to live today.

Alongside her work as an artist, Nyanu is also a skilled crafstwoman. Like many other Anangu women, she has learnt the art of ‘punu’ (wood carving and burning) and ‘tjanpi’ (grass weaving). Like her artwork, these crafts often depict the various animals found in the surrounding Kalka region.

Nyanu is well known for the highly stylised and unique creatures which she paints. Her works involve a combination of brushwork and dotting and often feature ‘ngintaka’ (the perentie lizard), ‘anumara’ (a type of caterpillar), and the ‘kakalyalya’ (pink cockatoo).