Piltati Tjukurpa

Rhoda Tjitayi

Artwork Year



176 x 120 cm


acrylic on canvas


Rhoda’s works depict Piltati Tjukurpa, an important cultural story learned from her grandmother. Rhoda remembers visiting her grandmother and sitting with her while she painted. When Rhoda paints she says “I am remembering the story she passed on. I am painting this to pass it on to my children. I have learnt this story from my grandmother she put the story in my heart and it’s going out to my grandchildren. When she was painting, she would tell a story and sing.” Rhoda learnt how to dance and sing from her grandmother and is now teaching her daughter and her family. Rhoda says “I am happy to be painting my grandmother’s story.”

Rhoda’s grandmother’s story is the ancestral creation story Piltati Tjukurpa. Two sisters, Wanyinta and Alartjatjarra, along with their husbands, travelled the lands looking for food. The two women would travel far to dig and hunt and always returned with food for their husbands. But on one particular occasion they decided to eat some of the food before heading back to their husbands. Their husbands became angry that their wives had not returned and decided to trick their wives by turning into two water snakes and going into the water holes near the site. The men, in the form of water snakes became angry and swallowed the two sisters. The waterhole has sweet water, linked to the two Watersnakes who live there, and to the Honey Ant Jukurpa connection. The waterhole has sugary tasting water and the Tjitayi family will drink the water when they visit it. The two Watersnakes still live there and are said by the people to be currently sleeping.

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