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Kapi punungka (Water in the wood)

Cynthia Burke
Iṯaṟa ~ River red gum
106.5 x 46 x 25 cm
Maruku Arts


I learned burning by watching my mother and other family members. The designs of my family and watching nature helped me to develop my own designs. I enjoy the burning process and how my designs grow on the wood. After the rain, the water flows in the creeks and fills the waterholes. In the old days, Yarnangu walked around from waterhole to waterhole to survive, and by doing so followed the ancestral tracks. I like to represent and remember this on my sculptures. You can see the water drops splashing on the wood. The sculpture represents the story of water. The sculpture represents the trees that lead us the way to find the water, and the water is within them and around them, even if we can’t see it, their roots will still touch it. The sculpture is made from the tree that shows us the way to the water, they are one, and the water flows around them and in them, just like the lines of my etching. And the circles represent the waterholes where we find the water.

Desert Mob is presented annually in Mparntwe | Alice Springs on Arrernte Country.

On behalf of Desart’s staff and art centre members, the Executive Committee humbly and respectfully acknowledge the Arrernte Apmereke Artweye (Traditional Owners) and Kwertengerle (Traditional Managers) of Mparntwe.


Desart respectfully advises Aboriginal readers that this website may contain names, images and artworks of people who have passed away.