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Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Tjala Tjurkurpa (Honey ant story)



Yaritji Young


circa 1954 -

Language group

Pitjantjatjara, Souther Desert region


Yaritji Young is a senior law woman who lives at Rocket Bore, a homeland north of Amata in South Australia. She has been exhibiting her weavings since 2010 and in recent years has come to prominence for her paintings, both under her own name and as part of the Ken Sisters’ collective, which also includes Sandra Ken, Freda Brady, Maringka Tunkin and Tjungkara Ken. Young, her sisters and her parents, Mick Wikilyiri and Paniny Mick, all paint through Tjala Arts in Amata, SA.
The art centre documentation for this work states:
Yaritji is telling the story of the Tjala (honey ants) which are found about a metre underground beneath Mulga trees. The Tjala tunnels that lead down to the ant's nests are called nyinantu. The Tjala larvae are called ipilyka-ipilyka. Tjala are a highly favoured food source. When the Pitjantjatjara go looking for Tjala they look for the drill holes under the trees. When they see them, they shovel and dig down, following the tunnels to find the Tjala inside. They suck the honeylike liquid from the abdomen of the Tjala. The story of the Tjala is told across the Northern Territory into South Australia. The Tjala is an important link between Anangu mythology and inter-dependence on the environment. The Tjala ancestors are related to the country around Amata.


Place where the work was made

Amata South Australia Australia



Media category


Materials used

acrylic on linen


122.0 x 300.0 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Wendy Barron Bequest 2017


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Yaritji Young

Works in the collection