This painting is about a man called Harold Lasseter who set off in 1930 to try and find the gold he said he’d discovered on a previous expedition. When he came to grief, Anangu rescued him and helped him stay alive on bush tucker at Tjunti, Lasseter’s Cave. He later died when he tried to walk back to ‘civilization’ in the middle of summer. Denise says:
“A long time ago when I was 5 years old I thought I had a dream, something about a man called Lassiter who was in a red desert with 3 camels west of Uluru. That was a really interesting dream I had but when I have grown up and moved from Amata to Docker River, 300 kilometres west of Uluru, I’ve found out that I wasn’t dreaming at all. It was my grandmother who had been telling me the stories about Lassiter who was lost in the red desert with stolen gold and who did not survive. After all those stories of Lassiter it has been passed on. The same way that Lassiter has been around the desert and left tracks means that those tracks and his story have been passed to the future. When I do this painting I also think about my grandmother who told me the story. My grandmother passed away a long time ago now and I like to think of her. I like to say that I am proud of her for telling me this story about Lassiter.
The picture you are looking at is just like you are looking down from the sky onto the tracks of Kalaya (emu), rabbit, and rabbit holes, Ngintaka (Perenti Goanna), Aboriginal feet, fair feet, Lassiter’s boots and Kamula (camel) tracks, papa inura (dingo), trees, spinifex grass, kaliny kalinypa (bush sweets). This is what I call the ‘Lassiter’s Travel’.”