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Billy Cooley
Billy Cooley

Mutitjulu, Uluru, NT, Australia

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Contemporary Punu Carving in Wanaṟi ~ Mulga Wood


Contemporary carvings by Anangu (Central and Western Desert Aboriginal people) are known as punu, hand carved and decorated with walka: patterns burnt into the wood with wire heated on a wood fire. The animals all have their associations with the Tjukurpa, the stories of the Creation Ancestors and the activities which shaped the land, the people and their Law. Many details of Tjukurpa are restricted to senior custodians and cannot be revealed.

Wanampi or Water Serpents, are powerful creatures that inhabit and guard over waterholes. Local custodians hold the stories of the ancestors’ activities at specific sites across the country and thus know where the Wanampi are located. These ancestors are always treated with special reverence and respect for their powers and waterholes are never approached lightly. Billy Cooley began carving when he was working as a stockman at Mulga Park Station where he also met his Pitjantjatjara wife and began living with her people. Making kali or boomerangs from the desert mulga trees to start with, he remembers watching some of the older people crafting snakes from flat pieces of wood. With the idea of recreating something more of the drama of the liru, he began to look out for naturally occurring serpent forms in the roots and branches he came across in the landscape with a keen eye for interesting roots or peculiar twists of wood in which lie the sinuous coils of hidden movement. Wanting to make his work as lifelike as possible, he made careful study of the different scale patterns of desert serpents to replicate with his walka. Although they are inspired by the desert species he lives with, he explains it’s from his mother’s country at Boorooloola that he is related to the Water Serpent Dreaming.

This painting needs to be framed or stretched. It’s also being sent direct from the artist at a remote art centre, Maruku Arts, in Mutitjulu, Uluru, NT. Please note there is only one mail plane a week that takes the artwork to Uluru. The tracking information is then received a week later when the mail plane returns so often the painting are delivered before we receive the tracking information. Please expect a slightly longer wait for this very special artwork to arrive.


Leaves artist's studio in 3-8 working days

#stories, #creation, #Dreaming, #snake, #contemporary, #carving
(CreativeWork) Punu, Wanampi - (Water Snake) L622R1 by Billy Cooley. other-media. Shop online at Bluethumb.

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