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Kulata Tjuta

Michael Bruno, Hector Tjupuru Burton, Willy Kaika Burton, Jonathan Jones, Brenton Ken, Milsane Murphy, Tiger Palpatja, Jacob Tiger, Ray Ken, Barney Wangin, Mick Wikilyiri, Frank Young, Anwar Young

Kulata Tjuta 2012-14

277 wooden spears, malu (kangaroo) tendons, mulga shrub binding resin
dimensions variable
Monash University Collection
Purchased by the Monash University Library 2015
Location: Sir Louis Matheson Library, Clayton Campus

Kulata Tjuta was made by a group of senior men working with young men from the Tjala Arts Centre in the community of Amata in South Australia. The senior artists invited younger artists from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands to assist on the project with the deliberate aim  to pass spear-making skills on to a younger generation.

Kulata Tjuta translates to ‘many spears’. Displayed in the Matheson Library, the work itself comprises 277 hand-carved spears that are suspended from the ceiling where viewers can stand under the tips of the spears and feel the full weight of their power.

This work is part of an ongoing series of major contemporary art installations by the artists of the Tjala Arts Centre that are rooted in age-old traditions, knowledge and skills, and designed around keeping country and culture strong by teaching young men the skills of carving punu (wood) and kulata (spear) production. Willy Kaika Burton has said of the project:

Ka wati yangupala tjuta-ya rawa nintiringkupai kulata palyantjikitja, wati tjilpi tjuta wanu. Ka wati tjilpi ngayulu purunytju tjana wiru palyalku tjitji malatja malatja tjutaku kuranyu kutu. Panya nganana rawa pikaringku-katingi manta nyanga palumpa kuwari kulu. Ka tjukurpa nyangatja kulata tjuta tjara.

(We know if culture is strong, Anangu will continue the fight with a strong spirit. Young men have always learned to make kulata through the old men, and through the old men like me the fight will continue for a better future for Anangu.)

Photo: Dianna Snape