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Patju Presley

Tjuntjuntjara, WA

"This is good Country here. At Katutjara, you get water from a soak, but first must be dug out. And there is a rock hole at Tjiiwaratjara. And a big rockhole at Auwani. This is sandhill Country and where the Eagle Men travelled through. Wilurara (west). Men's Business story. Tjukurpa. Can't say. My grandfather's place, my father's place, this is Katutjara. Eagle Country."

About the Artist

Patju Presley

Patju Presley was born in 1945 at Itaratjara, an important site between Watarru and Kalayapiti in the Great Victoria Desert. He is a senior Pitjantjatjara Law man with great knowledge of the Western Desert and the associated Tjukurpa. Patju resides at Tjuntjuntjara Community with his wife, Ivy Laidlaw.

As a child, Patju lived in the desert, walking along Tjukurpa tracks that linked sacred sites and water sources. From the tjilpis (old men) he learnt Anangu social order, Law, culture, Tjukurpa and ceremony.

His family was displaced from the desert by Government Welfare patrols, which brought them to Warburton Mission. They then left Mirlirrtjarra / Warburton, walking east through the desert to Ernabella Mission where relatives were located. This journey of over 1000km was when Patju and his family saw the �big smoke� of atomic bomb testing far in the distance. These detonations led to Patju being unable to return to his Country for many years.

Patju�s art refers to the Tjukurpa across the Great Victoria Desert including the Wati Kipara (Bush Turkey), Wati Kutjara (Two Water-Snake Men), Kalaya (Emu), Wati Pira (Moon Man) and Minyma Kutjara (Two Sisters).

His works have been exhibited internationally, including in Belgium, Singapore and Germany.

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