Malara by Josephine Mick 91 x 45cm
Acrylic on canvas
This is a creation story about an ancestral figure known as Wati Wanampi (male water snake), who lived at a waterhole site known at Malara. The Wanampi gathered a group of men together to go out hunting for kuka (meat). While they were out looking for meat, another group of male water snakes known as the Wal Mala (an army of soldier snakes who came from a place called Mutitjulu) recruited them into their army. The group joined forces and travelled to a site known as Kuntjanu, where they engaged in a battle with Wati Tjakura (an edible skink lizard). They speared Wati Tjakura and killed him. The group then returned to Malara, where they rest today at the waterhole.
About the Artist
Josephine Watjari Mick was born in 1955 to revered artist Kuntjiriya Mick, at a site near Pukatja (Ernabella). She grew up mostly in the eastern APY Lands and has strong family ties in this area.
When she was a young girl, Josephine had a vivid dream in which she saw a bright tongue of fire. In the dream, she walked towards the fire and thought she had burnt her hands, but when she woke up, she realised her hands were hot. Shortly after, Josephine started working as a Ngangkari (or traditional healer).
She believes that her dream had given her the power to do so. She has mostly focussed her healing work on women and children. During the homelands movement of the 1970s, Josephine moved to Pipalyatjara, where she still resides today. As well as being a Ngangkari (traditional healer), Josephine is very involved in cultural business. She is also an active member in the Ninuku Arts Centre and has held the role of director several times. Josephine’s painting style is distinctive to say the least. Her works take an unusually long time to create, due to the thick layering of dots she creates in a variety of sizes and colours. Her palette is inspired by the desert flowers and plants from the area.