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Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, 1976

Watunuma (Warturnuma) (Flying Ant Dreaming) 1976 by Kaapa Tjampitjinpa. - click to view larger image

Warturnuma (the ancestral Flying Ant) was immense, with a long beard and wizened face. He flew just above the treetops, travelling westward through the lands of the Anmatyerr and Warlpiri peoples.

At Ngunga, north-west of Alice Springs, he landed for the last time, crawled on his arthritic knees into a cave and died. The double bars represent ant wings, and the concentric circles refer to the ant’s resting places and the earthen ‘homes’ of these insects.

Discussion questions

Look at this painting from different angles and with your eyes half closed.

Do the dots, colours or patterns look as if they are moving or changing?

Many Aboriginal paintings appear to 'shimmer' when we look at them. Maybe our eyes play tricks on us or maybe the paintings are magic!

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