Debra Nakamarra

Tjintjintjin (Cave) Dreaming #497

Acrylic on canvas
61 x 122 cm
(24 x 48 in)

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This painting depicts designs associated with the rockhole and cave site of Tjintjintjin, just to the west of the Kintore Community in Western Australia. The roundels and lines in this painting depict the geographical features in the area through which an old woman, Kutungka Napanangka, passed during her travels from Malparingya in the north-west. At this site Kutungka knew of an ancestral kuniya (snake) that lived underground. She proceeded to dig a hole in search of thew Kuniya, eventually locating and killing it. She then cooked and ate it, before continuing her travels east to Muruntji, south-west of Mt. Liebig.

During her travels Kutungka also gathered the edible berries, known as kumparapara or desert raisin from the small shrub Solanum centrale. The small circles in the painting represent the kumparapara. At Muruntji she was accosted by one of a group of boys so she chased them and caught all but the culprit, who managed to escaped. She killed the others and cooked them in a fire before travelling to Kaltarra, where she entered the earth. 

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