Artist David Miller
Title Wati Ngintaka Tjukurpa
Year 2022

Acrylic on canvas

Dimensions 122 × 122 cm
Art Centre Ninuku Arts →

Out of stock

David Miller

David Miller was born out bush, east of Kalka, South Australia. His parents first took him to Pukatja (Ernabella), later he grew up in Curtin Springs and became a farmhand as a young adult. He worked on Curtin Springs Station until he moved to Orinda community and later to Manguna community in the Northern Territory. Finally, he returned to the APY Lands and settled in Kanpi. He became a member and director of the original Tjungu Palya studios. In 2016, he resigned from Tjungu Palya and moved to Kalka Community, and became the community’s Chairperson. In the same year, he joined Ninuku Arts and is still an active member of the board.

Artist statement

This is a story about Wati Ngintaka Tjukurpa (perentie lizard man creation story). That Wati Ngintaka (lizard man) heard the clapping sound of a beautiful grinding stone – a traditional tool used for grinding mai (food). He wanted that stone for himself, so he travelled from Arang’nga a long way east towards Wayatina, looking for the stone. He spotted Anangu tjuta (lots of Aboriginal people) at a camp. Some of the people gave him mai (food) in the form of a seed cake, but it was dry and he didn’t like it. Then one lady gave him delicious food and he knew that it had been made with seeds ground on the special grinding stone. He spied the grinding stone and stole it, hiding it in under his tail. When they all went hunting the next day, Wati Ngintaka stayed in camp, saying he had sore feet. Once they were gone, it was safe and he left, stealing the grinding stone. All the people were angry with the Wati Ngintaka and chased him. When they caught him they felt all over his body to see where he was hiding the grinding stone, but couldn’t find it. Wati Ngintaka held up his arms and claimed he didn’t have it, but they saw he was hiding it, wipungka (in his tail). They speared the Wati Ngintaka and retrieved the grinding stone. He passed away at a place called Arang’nga in the Northern Territory. Ngaltutjara (poor thing).