Kunmanara Williams recent collaborative works make a bold statement about land possession. Painted on Australia post mail bags he capitalises on the potential offered by the existing text on the bags - ‘Theft or misuse of this bag is a criminal offence penalties apply’. Williams shifts this message through direct comments in Pitjantjara that highlight rights to country that have not been respected. On the other side of the work Willy Muntjantji Martin has painted his tjukurrpa which documents an innate attachment to country, his rights to country. Suspended by a kulata (spear) made by Sammy Dodd the work makes a poignant statement about legal rights and the maintenance of law.
The Pitjantjatjara text states:
Australia: Open your ears and listen
This has always been Aboriginal Land
You must never steal our Tjukurpa (law and culture)
Theft or misuse of this manta (land) is a criminal offence, penalties apply
Place where the work was made
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
Signature & date
Signed l.r. "Mumu Mike Williams". Not dated.
Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors tour to Central Australia 2017
© the artists
Shown in 1 exhibition
Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes (2017), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 29 Jul 2017–22 Oct 2017