Returning stories and artwork of Country back to Country

Featuring the work of Maimie Nginytja Butler & Nora Nyutjangka Davidson of Papulankutja Artists, Francis Marshal & Daphne Marks of Ikuntji Artists, Carol Young, Stanley Nyayati Young and Jennifer Mintaya Connelly Ward of Ninuku Arts.

A giant, seamless canvas on Country, this crowd favourite creates a playful and engaging experience for visitors both young and old. Immerse yourself in the stories, symbols and knowledge of Aboriginal culture as you wander through a mesmerising animated sequence of curated artworks projected onto the red sands of Alice Springs Desert Park.

Let the sand trickle through your fingers and discover how each of the seven artworks, by artists from three different art centres in the Central and Western Desert region, are brought to life. We hope you enjoy the cultural richness of Parrtjima.


Jennifer Mintaya Connelly Ward – Grounded Kultcha

Jennifer Mintaya Connelly Ward was born at Mulga Park, north-east of Amata in South Australia. After finishing school in Amata, Jennifer went to college in Alice Springs and then Adelaide. She lived in Papunya during her early 20s, but moved to Patjarr to live with her husband, Kunitja Ward. Alongside family responsibilities, Jennifer works in the remote media industry. She is also a painter and Tjanpi (grass) artist. Her art is influenced by her time living in Patjarr, and commonly depicts Kungkarrakalpa Tjukurpa, the Seven Sisters Dreaming story. She has a fluid and organic painting style, and often uses both a brush and ‘punu’ (a small wooden implement) to create the many layers in her work. She also loves to work with colours and has a natural affinity for blending beautiful colour combinations that create depth within her artworks.

ABOUT THE ARTWORK: Kungkarangkalpa – Seven Sisters Story

Jennifer Mintaya Connelly Ward – Kungkarangkalpa – Seven Sisters Story – Grounded Kultcha

This is a major Tjukurpa for Irrunytju (Wingellina) and across the central Australian deserts. The seven sisters travelled from Kaliwarra to Wannan in Western Australia, stopping at significant sites and rockholes including Kuru Ala, a sacred place for women. They encountered a lustul man named Wati Nyiru, who chased them around the desert. The big circles in this pain􀆟ng represent the elder sisters, and the little circles represent the little sisters. They are travelling separately. Some of the details of this Tjukurpa (Dreaming story) are sacred and can’t be repeated.


Maimie Nginytja Butler – Grounded Kultcha

Maimie Nginytja Butler grew up around Papulankutja (Blackstone) in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, Western Australia. The eldest of seven siblings, she spent much of her childhood with respected elder Kantjupayi Benson learning traditional skills. Maimie’s family are the Mitchells, whose country is to the north of Blackstone along the road to Walu Rockhole—a place of significance associated with several Tjukurrpa (Dreamtime stories). Maimie married Mark Butler, from Tjukurla, whom she met at Warburton where she was living at the time. She is a community leader in Blackstone and previously the chairperson of Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council. Maimie paints many Tjukurrpa stories including Seven Sisters, Perentie man and the Tjilkamata woman (goanna and echidna), and Wati kutjara (two goanna men). In between painting, passing on women’s cultural songlines and community responsibilities she turns her hand to making Tjanpi (sculptures made from local grasses).


Maimie Nginytja Butler – Women Hunting – Grounded Kultcha

Maime has painted groups of women (the ‘U’ shapes) gathered around a fireplace, cooking the food caught after the day’s hunting. The two circles are rock holes (literally holes in the rock where water catches). The purple clusters are the rocky outcrops familiar to the Ngaanyatjarra lands where Maime lives.


Nora Nyutjangka Davidson – Grounded Kultcha

Nora Nyutjangka Davidson was born near Mantamaru (Jameson) at a rock hole called Mutjil, 75km west of Papulankutja (Blackstone) in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, Western Australia. Her family later moved to Warburton, where she lived and attended the mission school while her mother and father went hunting. Although Nora now lives with her family at Papulankutja, she is still custodian for her family story of Ilurrpa. She paints the country where she was born and is an experienced Tjanpi weaver. In addition to Tjanpi sculptures and baskets, Nora has been involved in collaborative works. These include Tjanpi Toyota, a giant woven sculpture of a Toyota 4WD, and Kungkarrangkalnga-ya Parrpakanu – Seven Sisters Are Flying, a large installation based on the Seven Sisters Tjukurpa, produced for the National Gallery of Australia Songlines exhibition in 2015.


Nora Nyutjangka Davidson – Multju – Grounded Kultcha

Multju is the place where Nora was born. It is mulga tree country and a great place to find Honey Ants. There is a story of a mother with her two children and they have great success in this place finding honey ants. They enjoy the sweet reward for their efforts.


Daphne Marks – Grounded Kultcha

Daphne Marks has been painting for more than a decade and is a member of Ikuntji Artists in Haasts Bluff. Born in 1979 in Alice Springs, Daphne was a young girl when her mother and father passed away. She was raised by her aunt, Sonia Jugadai, and her grandmother, Narputta Nangala Jugadai (deceased), Ikuntji Artists’ most senior and internationally recognised painter at the time. Her grandmother passed down the right to paint Yalka Tjukurrpa (Bush Onion Dreaming) to Daphne. Married to Francis Marshall Tjapanangka, they have three children and one granddaughter. Daphne has an eye for detail and paints meticulous translations of the Tjukurrpa, which is found at Lake Macdonald in Western Australia.

ABOUT THE ARTWORK: Yalka Tjukurrpa – Bush Onion Dreaming

Daphne Marks – Yalka Tjukurrpa – Bush Onion Dreaming – Grounded Kultcha

Daphne was passed down the right to paint the Yalka Tjukurrpa at Karrkurutinytja (Bush Onion Dreaming at Lake Macdonald) from her grandmother, Narputta Nangala Jugadai (deceased), who was born close to this site. “My grandmother, Narputta used to make that painting. She told me that story,” Daphne said. “I used to work here (Ikuntji Women’s Centre) as a cook. I came to learn here. I saw my grandma painting. I learnt from her. She told me that story … Yalka … Bush food … For a long time those old ladies have been looking for Yalka, digging for Yalka, taking the fruit, cooking it in the fire. We cook them just a little bit, like Maku (witchetty grub). I have been looking for that Yalka with my grandmother.”

Yalka Tjukurrpa as told by Narputta: “Creek bed at Karrkurutinytja. Two old women, two Nungurrayi, came across from Pulpa and started gathering bush onions, putting them into Coolamons. They went on a journey west. They approached a group of men and watched them, whilst hiding in the bushed at Pimarrpa (Soakage near Kiwirrkura). There was another lady, Alkiljarra Nakamarra, who came along on their tracks. She saw them where they had gathered bush onions. She became upset that they’d gathered them all up and there were none left. The Nakamarra started walking and came across the creek, where she started collecing mungilpa (a staple seed food for the Pintupi people). She came across two Tjangalas (Mungilnga and Tiwilgna). Next to them was a rockhole and Atjakalya Nakamarra, who was making damper for them. Mungilnga had the smaller damper. The two Tjangalas ate their damper then she flew off and became a rock there at Kurultu.”


Francis Marschall – Grounded Kultcha

Francis Marshall was born in 1980 in Alice Springs. His father is Kumuntjai Marshall Tjapangardi (deceased) and his mother is Jeannie Wareenie Ross Nampitjinpa. Francis grew up travelling with his father and learning stories. His parents painted in Kintore, as part of Papunya Tula Artists. Francis went to school in Alice Springs where he learnt English. He then moved to Haasts Bluff to marry fellow artist Daphne Marks. They worked together at Ikuntji Women’s Centre when it first opened. Francis loves to paint his Wanampi Tjukurrpa – Snake Dreaming story, which was given to him by his grandfather and is about his grandfather’s country near Yuendumu.

ABOUT THE ARTWORK: Wanampi Tjukurrpa – Snake Dreaming

Francis Marshall – Wanampi Tjukurrpa – Snake Dreaming – Grounded Kultcha

“My father’s father’s Dreaming, my grandfather. We go there, Pikilily Top Springs, west of Yuendumu, out there. It’s still there, a scary place,” said Francis. “The Snake Dreaming, my father told me about this Dreaming. You see the water hole and trees blowing, big snake did put concert on my grandfather and buried his spirit there. He is still there. That’s why I paint this dreaming to call him up. My grandfather’s spirit talk me, he talk me to paint when I was a little boy. My grandfather spirit come to me, talk to me about this place, Pikilily Top Springs, snake dreaming, sacred place. Going and talking country, when the wind blows I feel that spirit, it makes me happy – that’s why I’m painting on canvas, it makes me happy”.


Carol Young – Grounded Kultcha

Carol Young comes from a strong Anangu family. Born in Alice Springs in 1972, Carol grew up in Amata and Pipalyatjara in the remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia. She is the niece of cultural leader and artist Stanley Young, and the granddaughter of the late Nyankula Watson, an important Western Desert painter. Nyankula passed down both her ‘tjukurpa’ (traditional stories) and unique art style to Carol, which influences her work today. Carol uses dot work, with some sweeping brush strokes, to depict mystical stories of Country.


Carol Young – Waru Dreaming – Grounded Kultcha

At Watarru (South Australia), there are many large and beautiful rocks. In these rocks lived the bush turkey. Anangu had no waru (fire) as the bush turkey stole the fire, and ran all the way to the sea with it.


Stanley Nyayati – Grounded Kultcha

Stanley Nyayati Young was born in 1949 at a sacred rockhole west of Irrunytju, a small community in Western Australia. He grew up in the bush, travelling with his family around the areas of Irrunytju and Pipalyatjara (South Australia) and living in traditional shelters, ‘wiltjas’. As a young boy he went to school at Ernabella Mission, later returning to Pipalyatjara where he lives with his family today. He shares stories of his many experiences working as a stockman, a Pitjantjatjara language teacher, a geologist for a mining company, and a truck driver. Along with being a celebrated artist and dancer, Stanley is also a respected elder and senior lawman.


Stanley Nyayati Young – Punu Warra – Grounded Kultcha

“Ngayuku Nguntjuku ngura, Punu Warra. This is my mother’s country Punu Warra,” said Stanley. “Papa Tjukurpa, dingo dreaming. Two men are chasing a dingo, you can see his tracks in the painting. They are hungry and need him for tucker, they chase him down. ‘Tjukurpa Mulapa’, this is a true Dreamtime story.”