We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Ngura (Country)



Kunmanara (Mumu Mike) Williams


1952 – Mar 2019

Language group: Pitjantjatjara, Southern Desert region

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Mimili South Australia Australia
    Cultural origin
    Pitjantjatjara/Southern Desert region
    Media categories
    Installation , Painting
    Materials used
    acrylic, ink and acrylic marker pen on canvas mailbags with kulata (spear) made from punu (wood), malu pulyku (kangaroo tendon) and kiti (resin made from mulga leaf resin)
    116.0 x 142.0 x 2.0 cm :

    a - Mailbag, 118 x 75 cm

    b - Mailbag, 118 x 75 cm

    c - Spear, 192 cm

    Signature & date

    Signed l.l. corner, Mumu Mike Williams". Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Art Collection Benefactors 2017
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © the artists/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Kunmanara (Mumu Mike) Williams

    Works in the collection


    Artist information
    Kunmanara (Willy Muntjantji) Martin

    Works in the collection


    Artist information
    Sammy Dodd

    Works in the collection


  • About

    "The painting is on (Australia Post) mailbags. This is about ownership. Government always want to say that something belongs to them – ‘It belongs to the Commonwealth, we’re the owner’ – but I’m saying, ‘wiya (no), this belongs to Anangu, to the Traditional Owners.’ For this painting, I worked with Sammy Dodd, he made the kulata (spear) using the proper Irititja (traditional) way. The kulata stands for strong men’s culture, and protecting our manta, guiding the Tjukurpa. [Kunmanara] (Willy Muntjantji) Martin is painting his mother’s country, Piltati, near Nyapari, and the Wanampi (water snake) Tjukurpa from there. We’re all passing on what we know, to our children and grandchildren, because the Tjukurpa is always there, it’s always in the manta. After we tjilpis are finished, the Tjukurpa is still there, titutjara (always)."
    Kunmanara Williams 2017

    The Pitjantjatjara text states:
    Anangu Law
    The tjilpi (senior men) are teaching about kulata (spears). Tjukurpa (cultural lore) around spears is very strong and is from the times of the Tjukurpa (Creation Stories). All the old senior men are holding strongly onto their Tjukurpa and protecting it with many spears.
    Tjukurpa kunpu. Strong law and culture.
    Theft or misuse of this Tjukurpa (Cultural Herritage) is a criminal offence, penalties apply.
    Theft or misuse of this Manta (Land) is a criminal offence, penalties apply.
    Senior men’s law and culture is very strong.

Other works by Kunmanara (Mumu Mike) Williams

Other works by Kunmanara (Willy Muntjantji) Martin

Other works by Sammy Dodd