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Teresa Baker and Clarise Tunkin
Minyma Malilunya 2016
synthetic polymer paint on linen
181 x 300 cm
Monash University Collection
Purchased by the Monash University Library 2016

The paintings of Teresa Baker and her daughter Clarise Tunkin are fundamentally linked to country. In 'Minyma Malilunya' (Emu woman story), they depict the country of Malilu (located in the north west of South Australia), a female creation being from the Tjukurpa (Dreamtime) known for her feminist strength, resilience and independence. As women and mothers, both Baker and Tunkin identify strongly with Malilu, depicting her regularly in their paintings.

Here, the brave Malilu has sent her daughters away to safety and acts as a decoy to protect them, drawing attention to herself and away from the girls. As danger approaches, she is forced to shelter in a system of underground sacred caves to avoid potential foul play by men and other kinship groups who are tracking her. The caves are the conduit for huge volumes of underground water, the staple of life in the harsh desert environment. Malilu becomes this element – the power of water as a force of nature. Baker and Tunkin use a collage of traditional iconography and daring imagery to illustrate the power of water under pressure, just like Malilu.