Iṯaṟa ~ River red gum, Acrylic paint


This artwork has been sold.

Known collectively as punu, the carvings of Anangu (Central and Western Desert Aboriginal people) have their beginnings in the Tjukurpa when Creation Ancestors made the first tools, setting down their laws and conventions. Women carve different sized bowls for their food gathering, processing and water collecting.

This bowl is known as kanilpa, long and narrow in shape and ideal for winnowing precious grains like wangunu or wintalyka (woolly butt grass seed or Acacia seed). One method of obtaining it is from the side of a muur-muurpa, bloodwood tree (Eucalyptus terminalus) with a long narrow trunk. A section is removed and hollowed out with fire before carving tools are used to shape it as light and strong as possible. Others are carved from a root section of the itara or river red gum (Eucalytptus camaldulensis). It takes a particular and highly refined skill to coordinate the hand movements required to separate and sift seeds which may be as tiny as grains of sand and the women use a rhythmic rocking motion to efficiently separate and clean their seeds.

Lulu has carved this bowl with help from her husband Billy, renowned carver in his own right. The inside has been painted to suggest the red ochre that was sometimes used as protection.