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Alkawari Dawson

Kataya Wati - 2006

synthetic polymer paint on canvas
147.0 x 92.0 cm
Price Realised: $1,830.00

MP #364


Provenance

Irrunytju Art Centre, WA Cat No. IRR06097
Private Collection, ACT

 

accompanied by a Irrunytju Art Centre certificate of authenticity

Alkawari Dawson, a senior Ngaanyatjarra artist, was born in the bush at Tjun Tjun rockhole and lived a semi-nomadic life near Warburton in West Australia. After the death of her first husband Alkawari married Nyakul Dawson and moved to Irrunytju where she raised a family. Her paintings engage with the Kataya Wati Tjukurpa (Emu Man Dreaming) relating to the country of her birth.

 

Alkawari often paints a fragment of the Dreaming that takes place in the night beside a large rockhole called Tjukarta Tjukarta. The Emus were lying beside the rockhole trying to sleep. They were restless because a wati liru (snake man) was moving about in the shadows nearby with a lot of baby snakes. All of the camp dogs were asleep except for one that was stalking several baby emus. The wati and minyma kalaya (men and women emus) were agitated and worried for their tjitji (children) who were running in all directions then cowered in a wiltja for shelter. 

In this painting we see erratic emu tracks, writhing lines, sprays of dots and intense colours. They suggest snakes and mamus (devils or monsters) lurking in deep shadows, sparks from camp fires, shining dogs’ eyes, and the helter-skelter panic of baby emus.