Kaapa Tjampitjinpa

(Australia circa 1920 – 1989)

Papunya, Western Destert region
Language group
Anmatyerr, Central Desert region, Warlpiri, Central Desert region, Arrernte, Central Desert region

Watanuma (Flying Ants Dreaming)

Not on display
Further information

Kaapa Mbitjana Tjampitjimpa was born and raised along with his cousins Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri and Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri at Napperby Station, north-west of Mparntwe (Alice Springs), where he worked primarily as a stockman until moving to the settlement of Papunya in the late 1950s. Tjampitjinpa was the principal artist of the painting of the Papunya School murals and became the first chairman of the Papunya Tula Artists Cooperative in 1972

'Watanuma (Flying Ants Dreaming)' depicts the airborne travels of an elderly man, relating to the Flying Ant. He travelled from the far east through to Anmatyerr lands and then on to Warlpiri country. The man landed upon solid ground for the last time west of Yuendumu, 400 kms north west of Alice Springs, his land travels created creeks before retreating to a cave as his final resting place.

The flying ant is the winged stage of the termite, commonly viewed as a destructive force. However 'Watanuma (Flying Ants Dreaming)' acknowledges the important role the insects play in the ecology of country.

Place of origin
Central and Western Desert, Northern Territory, Australia
Cultural origin
Anmatyerr/Warlpiri/Arrente, Papunya, Central Desert region
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
160.0 x 180.0 cm
Donated by Katherine and Christopher Goodnow through the Cultural Gifts Program, in memory of Professor Jacqueline Goodnow AC 2015
Accession number
© Estate of Kaapa Tjampitjinpa