Punuku Tjukurpa

12/06/2015 - 17/02/2019

  • Piti
    Ivy Ingkatji Piti , c. 1995
    River Red Gum
    710 x 195 x 290mm
    Image Credit
    Image courtesy of Maruku Arts

About the exhibition

Artback NT together with Maruku Arts, present the very first touring exhibition of works from the Maruku archive. Curated by Steve Fox, this stunning collection is made up of a diverse array of sculptures and paintings from some of Australia’s finest artists. Works include piti (wooden bowls), miru (spearthrowers), tjara (shields), kulata (spears) and beautiful carvings of desert birds and animals.

This retrospective offers the first opportunity for Australian audiences to view work from this magnificent archive. The material that makes up the exhibition represents three generations of artists for whom the tradition of wood carving and painting has been passed down. Integral to the imparting of these physical skills to the next generation is the teaching of the stories which form the basis for the intricate designs and markings.

The title of the exhibition, Punuku Tjukurpa, describes the story and the law behind wooden objects created by artists belonging to this unique collective. This exhibition is an acknowledgment of the sharing of culture—of that which is secular and that which can be sacred. It is a celebration of innovation in wood carving, including many forms of punu. It represents an extraordinary opportunity to view the historical and contemporary trajectory of one of Australia’s finest art movements, providing the viewer with a pathway into culture rarely seen.

About the artists

Topsy Tjulyata, Pulya Taylor, Billy Cooley, George Okai, Ivy Ingkatji, Niningka Lewis, Rolley Mintuma, Stanley Doolan, Alan Kenta, Jorna Newberry, Lulu Cooley, Joanne Cooley, Reggie Jackson, Mr J Giles, Gregory Fox, Walter Pukuitwara, Jim Nyukiti, Frank Young, Robert Woods, Ushma Scales, Kaiu Kaiu, Sadie Singer, Rene Kulitja, Judy Trigger and others.

Touring Venues
and Dates


Maruku Arts
Grace Fine Art
Regional Arts Fund
Community Benefit Fund
Arts SA
Nomad Art Productions
Desert Vision


This is an Artback NT touring exhibition developed in partnership with Maruku Arts. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. This is exhibition is also audio described.