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Acrylic on Linen
152.4 X 76.2cm
Community: Patjarr

“Kunma people in the Tjukurrpa (dreaming) times all walk and hunt together, never separate. One old man, (big man) leads them around, women, children, young men and old men, altogether they are a strong and dangerous mob all with pointy noses.

Kunma or Pirryljarra (two names) is a large dry lake, surrounded by sandhills with limestone in the centre of the lake with holes in it that go underground. The Kunma people were planning a big journey but the old man was too tired to walk around any more, and wanted everybody to stop there together, so he sings out to all the people who had divided into four groups along the traditional kinship system, sun side, and shade side (depicted as a circle in the four corners of the canvas).

People hear the old man calling and everybody starts to sing out, “let’s go back, let’s go back”, and so from four directions the Kunma mob come back, women and kids and men to the holes in the limestone in the centre of the lake, go inside sit down and never come out, except after rain as biting flies, march flies. This is a dangerous place.

People in the old times still used this soakage water but camped in the sandhills and built big fires to keep the flies away. It is said that dogs waiting around for the people to return from hunting and gathering would go inside the holes.” – Arthur Tjatitjarra Robertson