Wati Ngintaka Tjukurpa by David Miller
Wati Ngintaka Tjukurpa
Acrylic on canvas
91 x 91cm
This is a story about Wati Ngintaka Tjukurpa (perentie lizard man creation story). That Wati Ngintaka (lizard man) heard the clapping sound of a beautiful grinding stone - a traditional tool used for grinding mai (food). He wanted that stone for himself, so he travelled from Arang’nga a long way east towards Wayatina, looking for the stone. He spotted Anangu tjuta (lots of Aboriginal people) at a camp. Some of the people gave him mai (food) in the form of a seed cake, but it was dry and he didn’t like it. Then one lady gave him delicious food and he knew that it had been made with seeds ground on the special grinding stone. He spied the grinding stone and stole it, hiding it in under his tail. When they all went hunting the next day, Wati Ngintaka stayed in camp, saying he had sore feet. Once they were gone, it was safe and he left, stealing the grinding stone. All the people were angry with the Wati Ngintaka and chased him. When they caught him they felt all over his body to see where he was hiding the grinding stone, but couldn’t find it. Wati Ngintaka held up his arms and claimed he didn’t have it, but they saw he was hiding it, wipungka (in his tail). They speared the Wati Ngintaka and retrieved the grinding stone. He passed away at a place called Aran’nga in the Northern Territory. Ngaltutjara (poor thing).
About the Artist
David Miller was born the traditional way out in the bush, east of Kalka, South Australia. His date of birth is not confirmed, but would be around 1951. His parents first took him to Pukatja (Ernabella), later he grew up in Curtin Springs and became a farm hand as a young adult. He worked on Curtin Springs Station until he moved to Orinda Community and later to Manguna Community in the Northern Territory.
Finally, he returned to the APY Lands and settled in Kanpi. He started painting with arts facilitator Amanda Dent and became a member and director of the original Tjungu Palya studios. In 2016, he resigned from Tjungu Palya and moved to Kalka Community and became the Community’s chair person. In the same year, he joined Ninuku Arts and became the chair of Ninuku Arts.
David's wide portfolio of collaborative and personal work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. His paintings are composed as traditional hunting maps, drawn in the sand. They typically depict important tracks of this region overlaid with the physical and spiritual geographies associated with them.