Wati Kutjara Wanampi by Jimmy Yanyatjari Donegan - 78 x 30 cm
Acrylic on linen
91 x 45 cm
Jimmy paints the Tjukurpa (Dreaming story) from an important site known as Pukara, south-west of Irrunytju (Wingellina community) in Western Australia. It is a story of Wati Kutjara Wanampi (two male water serpents) - a father and son - who are living at a waterhole. According to the story, Anangu tjuta (lots of people) went to that rockhole for the kapi (water), which is said to taste sweet. This upset the father and he told them to go back to their own country. Once the people left, the father and son travelled to Willuna, where they camped for weeks. They then return to Pukara. One day they were sleeping, but were awoken by a loud buzzing sound. The Minyma Punpunpa (the female flies) had been attracted to the honey grevillea plants found near the waterhole. It prompted the father and son to get up and go to collect the honey from the plants. It is there that the Wati Mututa (male black ants) appeared. They speared the son in his side. When the son started vomiting, he produced the seeds of all the different varieties of honey grevillea plants that are still found there today. They include kaliny-kalinypa, ultukunpa, piruwa and witjinti.
About the Artist
Jimmy was born at Yanpan, a rockhole near Ngatuntjarra Bore circa 1950. He grew up in the country surrounding Papulankutja (Blackstone) and Mantamaru (Jameson) in Western Australia. Jimmy has strong family links throughout the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands and his wife was originally from a place near Kalka.
Some time ago Jimmy took his wife and children to live at Papulankutja (Blackstone) because of his deep connection to that country. He is now widowed and has returned to Kalka community to live with his children, and to be closer to his sister, Molly
Nampitjin Miller, who is a founding director of Ninuku Arts.
Jimmy is a skilled wood craftsman - his spears, spear throwers and boomerangs are prized and much sought after. He is also a strong cultural man, involved in traditional law and ceremony. In August 2010, Jimmy Donegan won the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award ( NATSIA- otherwise known as the Telstra Award). He was the winner of two sections - the General Painting category and the overall prize.
"Like much of Donegan’s work over the past decade, the award winning painting is solemn and emphatic in its design, but dazzlingly illuminated. The artist’s technique is to compose the colour lines of his canvases from thousands of large dots in different hues, which blend into a whole." Nicolas Rothwell, The Weekend Australian, August 2010.