1997/0020 Kalpurtu

Kalpurtu

Artist

Jimmy PIKE
Indigenous
Birth:
c 1940
 in
Japingka, south of Fitzroy Crossing, Great Sandy Desert, Western Australia
Death:
03 Nov 2002
 in
Derby, Western Australia

Artwork

Title
Kalpurtu
Date
1983
Medium/Material
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Dimensions
80 x 150cm (Height x Width x Depth)
Credit line
Purchased through the Sir Claude Hotchin Art Foundation, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 1997
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession Number
1997/0020
Currently not on display

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Curatorial insightKalpurtu are ‘magic water snakes’, ancestral beings which inhabit jila, or permanent waterholes in the desert. Not all are completely snake-like: some have limbs and even whiskers. They are identified with the waterhole they inhabit. Some are known to be friendly, others are dangerous and if upset they can bring a strong wind and severe storms. When people belonging to a particular jila have been away for a long time, they greet the kalpurtu when they return, reminding it of who they are and telling it not to harm them. If they have strangers with them, they introduce the newcomers to the snake. All the men perform a little ceremony with green branches before approaching the jila. When they dig the waterhole and reach water, people rub some of the mud onto their bodies so that the snake will recognise their smell as belonging to that place. (Croft, Indigenous Art: Art Gallery of Western Australia, 2001)

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Vernon id: 14757