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.
Wanampi or Water Serpents, are powerful creatures that inhabit and guard over waterholes. Local custodians hold the stories of the ancestors’ activities at specific sites across the country and thus know where the Wanampi are located. These ancestors are always treated with special reverence and respect for their powers and waterholes are never approached lightly.
This walka is connected with a creation story of Niningka’s country at Malara. It concerns a group of Wati Liru or poisonous snake men marched in battle across the lands as far afield as Uluru and Kata Tjuta. They arrived back in Malara in human form and rested for a while by the fire before taking serpent form again and disappearing into the ground.
Coded in the Creation or Law stories is the information needed to hunt and survive and dot paintings are a contemporary way of continuing to celebrate and teach through the Tjukurpa.