Anumara Tjukurpa – Caterpillar Story, 2019


  • 90cm x 90cm
  • 2019
  • Acrylic On Belgian Linen
  • Catalog No: 1148-X1864-19

Paintings depict the Tjukurpa, the Law and stories of Ancestors. Anangu (Central and Western Desert Aboriginal people) have responsibilities for the protection and teaching of different Tjukurpa and there are strict protocols for the imparting of knowledge. The dotting technique has evolved with the need to adapt sacred expressions of Tjukurpa for public viewing and as a depiction of the desert landscape.
Malya has painted part of a story for his wife, Awalari’s ancestral country around Irrunytju or Wingellina and Kata Ala in the tri-state border are of Central Australia. Anumara is a type of edible caterpillar often found feeding on tar vine plant.  It eventually reaches Alice Springs where it is known as Yerpenye and its significance is etched into the landscape in the form of the East and West MacDonnell Ranges.
The centre of the canvas shows the anumara with its eyes visible at one end. Its butterfly wings spread either side with two large concentric circles in their centre.  The circles show both the ancestor as well as sites along its journey across the country: the ‘dreaming tracks’ followed by countless generations of Anangu since. These sites are often important water sources and are linked through inma or ceremony – the singing, dancing and body painting which reveals the laws of nature and provides a blue print for life and a guiding map of country.