Wati kutjara – The goanna men

Size: 30 x 30cm; acrylic on linen canvas

Catalogue Number: 51-20


This is the story of two arrogant men who were best friends, powerful magicians and tricksters who came to the Lands from far away to the west. ‘These two men they always together, they always camp together. They do all sorts of tricks when they travel across the lands. Because they travel long way, all around, they stop from place to place’ Belle Davis. When they reached the Blackstone Range (Wirtapi Wara – Long Black) they argued about which way to go around. One went around the south side and the other the northside.

When they saw each other from a distance they didn’t recognise each other. Or it might have been they were just pretending not to recognise each other! It is also said that at Papulankutja they tricked each other by changing their appearance at the same time and didn’t recognising each other. The name Papulankutja comes from the Ngaanyatjarra word for ‘stare without recognising each other’.

Prudence has depicted one of the brothers turning from goanna to man.