Punu carving L: 25cm (ANAH)
Contemporary carvings by Anangu (Central and Western Desert Aboriginal people) are known as punu, hand carved and decorated with walka, patterns burnt into the wood with wire heated on a wood fire. The animals all have their associations with the Tjukurpa, the stories of the Creation Ancestors and the activities which shaped the land, the people and their Law. Many of the details of Tjukurpa are restricted to senior custodians but for this story they have been able to make some details open for sharing.
The Ngintaka or Perentie lizard (Varanus giganteus) is the largest lizard of Central Australia and a highly prized, important food. Carvings are recognized by their distinctive walka. The artist has spent a life time observing the habits and forms of these animals and its powerful Tjukurpa, celebrated in inma (ceremony, song, and dance), story telling and art work.
Wati Ngintaka Tjukurpa (Perentie Man Law) stretches from one side of South Australia to the other, many sacred sites marking his passage from the first greedy sighting of a prized grindstone, to his death in punishment for its theft. Coded in this Law story is intricate information about the country and its food and water sources as well as instructions for maintaining the balance and harmony of society.