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Ngintaka

written by Diana James, Elizabeth Tregenza

Wakefield Press | ISBN 9781743052921

Hardback – 184 pages

$59.95

Member’s price: $53.96
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Inma as told to Diana James by Ivy Nganyinytja and Andy Tjilari with commentary by Tjilpi Robin Kankapankatja, Teddy Edwards, David Miller, Robert Stevens and Tjilpi Tjulyata. Essays by Diana James, Howard Morphy, Judith Ryan, June Ross, Mike Smith and Janet DeBoos.

The epic songline of Wati Ngintaka, the giant perentie lizard man, is a map for survival that is relevant today. He first sang his song as he travelled the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, creating waterholes and food sources that Anangu rely on today. Those who follow the song know where to find water and food across a vast area of the South Australian desert.

The Ngintaka story begins and ends in western Pitjantjatjara country. He travels into Yankunytjatjara country, lured by the sound of a superior grindstone, to make it his own. Modern archaeology posits an enormous millstone quarry, Palthirri Pirdi, with its beautiful fine-grained white sandstone, as a possible source for the grindstone Ngintaka coveted.

Anangu tell the story of the Ngintaka through rock art, body paint and ceremony and share the story with a wider audience through acrylic paintings, ceramics, wood carvings, tjanpi grass weaving and film - media of the powerful APY contemporary art movement practised in community art centres across the region.

This book is here because Aboriginal owners and descendants of the Ngintaka wish to pass on his story to their children and grandchildren. The process of its development was a family and community inter-generational celebration - a great time of storytelling and learning. Women prepared seedcakes in the traditional manner while their grandchildren filmed them; young men created massive ceramic sculptures; everyone sang and danced inma and the deeds of Wati Ngintaka were discussed again and again.

This is the story of a revered Creation Ancestor and a story of cultural survival and regeneration.

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