Pangkupirri – Tjawina Porter


40.6cm x 55.9cm: acrylic on canvas

Artwork is sold unstretched

In stock


40.6cm x 55.9cm: acrylic on canvas

Artwork is sold unstretched

Tjawina Porter

Tjawina Porter was born circa 1940 and grew up in the desert near Yumara where she lived the traditional nomadic lifestyle with her family. After the death of her father, her family moved to the then newly established government settlement of Papunya. Tjawina now lives in Tjukurla, a remote indigenous community in the Western Desert of Australia which is close to her birth place. Tjawina is a skilled craftsperson, and was well known for her skills as a traditional basket weaver and carver of punu before becoming recognised for her exceptional painting skills.

Her artworks represent the traditional homelands associated with her people’s ancestral heritage. The iconography depicts sand dunes known as “tali” and rock escarpments known as “puli”, as well as waterholes and food sources. Her designs are often used in body art during traditional corroborees.  The artworks depict the physical markings that the ancient ancestors have provided to give evidence of their activities during the time of creation. Tjawina’s artworks are rich in symbolism and fine detail, with brushwork and dots travelling steadily across the canvas to reveal the undulating forms of her country. Her extensive cultural and topographical knowledge are evident in her paintings, which evoke the movement and energy of desert landscapes. In the years that Tjawina has been painting she has gained worldwide recognition, participating in many national and international group exhibitions. Her works are represented in private and public collections in Australia and overseas.


Pangkupirri is a very large mountain range in the middle of Tjawina’s home country, there is a large and deep rockhole there also called Pangkupirri, which holds water even in the driest of seasons. Pangkupirri is the site where the Minyma Ngiyari, (Mountain Devil/Thorny Devil) woman and Wati Yurlukuku, (Mountain Dove) man lived in Tjukurrpa times. These two were husband and wife and spent much of their time hunting and living in this area. Ngiyari was pregnant, during this time and Yurlukuku travels north to heal his nephew. You can see Ngiyari, Ngiyari’s babies and Yurlukuku at Pangkupirri as rocks and trees.  

Pangkupirri is where Tjawina spent much of her youth, pre-contact with whitefellas. At Pangkupirri Tjawina and her sister used to hide the Mangarta (quondongs) that their mother collected so they could eat it all, because they were too hungry to wait until they got back to camp. Tjawina’s dad used to hunt rabbits and spear them near Pangkupirri. Tjawina gave birth to all three of her children around Pangkupirri. Her daughter was born at Malukara, one of her sons at Ngalyanyurru, northwest side of Pangkupirri, and the other son born at Iilytjirriny right next to Pangkupirri. It is where she also came into contact with the native patrol officers in the 1960s, McCauley and MacDougal, who eventually took her and her family from their country to Warburton Mission.