Harry Tjutjuna

(Australia circa 1930 – )

Pukatja (Ernabella), Southern Desert region
Language group
Pitjantjatjara, Southern Desert region

Wanka (Spider)

Yiribana Gallery
Further information

In recent years a number of art centres have been established throughout the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands which stretch across the north of South Australia. In these communities, many with only basic facilities, the art centres provide a culturally appropriate way for people to achieve economic independence on their own country.

Ninuku Arts is a community owned art centre established in 2006 to service the remote Indigenous communities of Pipalyatjara and Kalka. In the few years it has operated artists from the centre have become widely recognised for their lively canvasses. Harry Tjutjana is one of the leading artists of this region and is currently working through Ninuku Arts, although he has previously painted at the nearby community of Ernabella. This region is a current focus for the collection, given the quality and diversity of the works being produced, with Tjutjana being one of the key artists under consideration.

The art centre documentation for this work states: This is a big spider man. Watipaluru Ngankari (A male healer, traditional doctor). He is a powerful man. When rain comes he hides in his nest. He is a cleaver man. At night time he changes colour. His name is Wanka, spider. That's the story. Minyma wanka tjuta, these are all the women and the children for this man (around him). I am the spider man, Ngankari.

synthetic polymer paint on canvas
168.0 x 153.0 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors' Group 2012
Accession number
© Harry Tjutjuna, courtesy Ninuku Arts