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


Tjala Tjurkurpa (Honey ant story)



Yaritji Young


circa 1954 –

Language group: Pitjantjatjara, Souther Desert region

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Amata South Australia Australia
    Cultural origin
    Pitjantjatjara, Southern Desert region
    Media category
    Materials used
    acrylic on linen
    122.0 x 300.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Wendy Barron Bequest 2017
    Naala Nura, upper level
    Accession number
    © Yaritji Young/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Yaritji Young

    Works in the collection


  • About

    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.