Kamiku Tjukurpa Iritinguru (Triptych) – Denise Brady


Triptych of 3 works; each 30.5cm x 40.6cm

Artwork is sold unstretched

In stock


Triptych of 3 works; each 30.5cm x 40.6cm

Artwork is sold unstretched

Denise Brady

Denise Brady is an exciting young artist from Kaltukatjara (Docker River). Born in Alice Springs, Denise spent her early life in Amata Community in the APY lands in South Australia. Her father’s country is further south of there, Nibabunna, near Quorn in South Australia. Denise has lived in Kaltukatjara most of her adult life, but also spends time in Mutijulu community next to Uluru. She paints an important story of country between her two homes. Denise is a central part of the community in Kaltukatjara. She has been a Director of the art centre and of NPY Women’s Council. Denise only began exhibiting in 2018, and has already been a finalist in both the Hadley’s Art Prize and Kalgoorlie Boulder Art Prize in 2019, and the Alice prize in 2022. She has been selected for major surveys of Indigenous women’s art at the Vivienne Anderson Gallery in Melbourne, and was featured in Desert Mob 2019, 2020 and 2021. In 2021, Denise was also a finalist in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) where her entry was acquired by MAGNT.

When I’m painting, I’m not painting about other countries or places, or even my country. I’m thinking about and painting about what’s happening in my mind and my heart. When I think, I do a picture. Me and my canvas, we talk to each other. It helps me work out what I’m thinking and feeling. It’s like all my thinking, the canvas sucks it out of my mind and heart and stamps it on the canvas, makes it stable. I’m not talking about outside things, I always talk about how I am feeling and thinking about those things, it all comes from inside me.  

I want Anangu to know, to have good memories about stories – maybe your grandparents and family told you those stories – and those stories get passed on for the future. Sometimes story comes from your heart, sometimes your mind, and your mind’s gotta be clear to do a painting like this. Once you do that painting, it comes out of your mind into the picture, where you’ll know ‘This is it. That’s me.’ 

Other people, I want them to learn that when you got worries or sorrow or something, grab a canvas and start doing a painting and all these worries you have in your heart, brokenhearted, it’ll come out, and it’ll make one big picture for you. And you’ll feel happy. Painting is really good to help us to get rid of every worry and memory we are holding, so we don’t have to have trauma. Palya.”

Kamiku Tjukurpa Iritinguru

Denise’s works are distinguished by their fine detail and nuanced play between dark and light. As denise paints, her purnu (stick) travels rhythmically across the canvas recreating the footsteps of Anangu (Aboriginal people), ancestral spirits, and important animals, dot by dot.

Denise explains:

“Kamiku Tjukurpa Iritinguru means ‘my grandmother’s story from the past’. Every time I do painting I think of my Grandmother and feel connected to her. My paintings tell stories of desert tracks, which are embedded in the land from the past, but whose spirit is sustained into the future.

Growing up in Amata, I always remembered a dream I’d had when I was five years old. I dreamed of a whitefella, a man who was lost in the desert, wondering around with his kamula (camels). He had no food, no water. He couldn’t survive because he didn’t know the country. When I was older, I moved to Docker River and realised it hadn’t really been a dream. It was my Grandmother’s story that she had told me many times as a child, and it had stuck in my mind.

When I paint, it’s like I’m looking down at the landscape from above. I paint the landscape and tracks around my Grandmother’s country and where that man went with his kamula. The tracks are made by Anangu tjina (people’s foosteps), kamula (camels), kalaya (emu), nintaka (goanna), pintjartanpa (rabbit), and papa inura (dingo).”