Wati Kutjarra – Janet Forbes – Janet Forbes


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Janet Forbes

40 x 40cm; already framed acrylic on cotton canvas
Year: 2024

Wati Kutjarra – Janet Forbes

This is the story of two powerful magicians who came to the Ngaanyatjarra Lands from far away to the west;

‘These two men are always together, always camping together. They do all sorts of tricks when they travel across the lands as they stop from place to place. When they reached ‘Wirtapi Wara’ (Long Black or Blackstone Range) they argued about which way to go around. One went around the south side and the other the north side.

At a distance it seemed they didn’t recognise each other or perhaps 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 so they had no chance to recognise each other. The name Papulankutja comes from the Ngaanyatjarra word meaning, ‘to stare without recognising each other’.

‘They usually took the form of goanna but they could turn into other animals as well. Finally, when they got to Kaltukatjara (Docker River) they had become so arrogant that without realising they walked straight into some local men’s business even though they were warned by the local women. The goanna men led themselves blindly to their fate”.