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Tjayanka Woods

Tjayanka Woods

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Tjayanka Woods, a senior Pitjantjatjara artist, was born around 1935, near Kalaya Piti (Emu Water) near Mimili and Wataru, South Australia. When she was a baby, her mother and father were chased by aboriginal soldiers from elsewhere who were killing anangu. She lived a semi-nomadic lifestyle in the bush, frequently camping at Kalaya Piti where they would hunt ngintaka (goanna), tinka (lizards), kalaya (emu) and gather bush foods such as kampurarpa (desert raisin), ili (figs) and maku (wood grubs). As a child, Tjayanka learnt to carve utilitarian objects such as wana (digging sticks) and kanilpa (basin for collecting and sorting seeds); sculpt figurative objects and decorate wood with burn marks; spin hair string on fragile hand-spun spindle and weave manguri (head rings) and ceremonial belts from hair and emu feathers.

Tjayanka’s work is defined by a vibrant and exciting visual language where intense multi-coloured linear plays of dots and lines flow river-like from one roundel or rockhole and land formation to another. These vary from long dense multi-coloured ribbons to ones that are shorter and more loosely constructed.

Tjayanka Wood’s work is held in the collections of the Western Australian Art Gallery.

Last Updated - Jun 9, 2017