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Pukara by Jimmy Donegan  55 x 61 cm

Pukara by Jimmy Donegan 55 x 61 cm

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61 x 55 cm

Acrylic on Canvas


This is a story about kaliny-kalinypa (honey grevillea plant), which Anangu (the term for people in Pitjantjatjara) use as a type of bush lolly, sucking the nectar out of the plant. In the Tjukurpa (Dreaming story) a father and son, Wati Kutjara Wanampi (two male water snakes), are living at Pukara, an important waterhole site near Irrunytju (Wingellina). Because of the kaliny-kalinypa which is found at the site the water there has a sweet taste and lots of people go there to access it. But father Wati Wanampi doesn’t like this and he tells them to go back to their own country. The people leave and the father and son travel to Willuna, where they camp for weeks. When they return to Pukara, they are awoken by a buzzing sound. Minyma Punpunpa (the female flies) are making lots of noise as they buzz around the honey bush. This prompts the father and son to get up to go and collect honey. While they are doing this, a Wati Mututa (black ant) finds the father and son, and spears the son in his side. The young son starts spitting and he spits up the yellow and orange seeds of all the different types of honey grevillea. These plants can still be found at this site today. There is a big variety of honey grevillea plants including kaliny-kalinypa, ultunkunpa, 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.