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


Walawuru ngunytju kukaku ananyi (Mother eagles going hunting)



Iluwanti Ken


1944 –

Language group: Pitjantjatjara, Southern Desert region

  • Details

    Other Title
    [Walawulu Tjukurpa]
    Place where the work was made
    Amata South Australia Australia
    Media category
    Materials used
    ink on primed linen
    257.6 x 407.0 cm overall :

    a - left panel, 257.6 x 203.5 cm

    b - right lanel, 257.6 x 203.5 cm

    Signature & date

    Signed l.r., black ink "ILUWANTi Ken". Not dated.

    Commissioned and funded with the support of the Dobell Foundation in celebration of the opening of Sydney Modern Project and the Gil and Shay Docking Drawing Fund 2022
    North Building, ground level, Yiribana Gallery
    Accession number
    © Iluwanti Ken

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Iluwanti Ken

    Works in the collection


  • About

    ‘I paint the stories of my father’s country – Walawuru Tjukurpa – the story of the eagles. This is my tjukurpa and all of my children’s tjukurpa too.’

    Iluwanti Ken (born 1944) is a Pitjantjatjara artist, originally from Watarru and now living in Amata, in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands in South Australia. She works across weaving, painting and drawing, as is particularly known for large-scale ink drawings which feature mother eagles hunting.

    Her drawings are created using punu (wooden) sticks and express her tjukurpa. She says that birds like the walawuru (eagles) and patupiri (swallows) have lessons for Anangu women about how to care for one’s children. These birds build strong wiltjas (shelters) for their family, they hunt for food and protect their young from danger.
    This subject of this drawing is the artist’s Country, Watarru, south west of Amata. Recent heavy rains have changed this usually-dry desert environment, filling the rock holes with water. The drawing shows the large birds hunting around the waterholes, drawn towards the water source.

    ‘I paint the Walawulu, the Eagle. I have actually painted the eagle for years and I also make sculptures of the eagle with Tjanpi Desert Weavers. Eagles have lots of lessons to share with Anangu women, particularly in regard to motherhood…Protecting, feeding and caring for children, Anangu women have always looked to the eagles for these lessons.’ – Iluwanti Ken 2020

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

Other works by Iluwanti Ken