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Wati Kutjara | Spinifex Men's Collaborative - 2005

synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
133.0 x 187.5 cm
Price Realised: $3,660.00

MP #353


Artists: Cyril Brown, Lennard Walker, Fred Grant, Lawrence Pennington, Bill Anderson & Roy Underwood

Spinifex Arts Project, WA Cat No. C227
Private Collection, Tas

The Wati Kutjara, known as Two Men, are part of sacred men's law in the Western Desert regions beyond Balgo Hills in the north and Kintore in the south. Here the Wati Kutjara are often likened to the wind, whose form they adopted when in danger. The men's first action was to sing out their names in order to establish their own identity. They then travelled about and eventually headed south-east in order to enlighten the people there who did not possess the rituals known to the Dreaming heroes. As they travelled, they sang of the animals, plants and geographic features that they encountered, naming them and calling them into being. Filled with magical power, these two unmarried brothers eventually travelled all over the Western Desert destroying many dangerous evil spirits. They also created sacred objects.


The Wati Kutjara feature in innumerable stories, whose details vary from region to region. In one rendition, they are credited with castrating the man in the moon by throwing a magical boomerang (Kidili) because he tried to rape the first woman. In other versions, the Wati Kutjara were the ones attempting to seduce the same group of women.

This collaborative painting is a cartographic map of country owned by the men of the Spinifex country. At the time it was painted each of the participants sat with their back to their own clan lands with the unstretched canvas lying on the ground between them. Each participant then painted their own country as they all worked toward the centre of the canvas. Each and every site depicted was named and sung to bring the country to life.