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Monica Puntjina Watson

c.1940 Pukara Rock hole (close to Irrunytju), Western Australia

A Pipalytjara elder, Monica Putjina Watson was born in or around 1940 at the rockhole Pukara in Western Australia, an important site for the water snake Tjukurpa (dreaming story). She left her birthplace with her family as a young girl and worked for a time in the crafts room at Ernabella Arts in Pukatja, South Australia. It was not until the homelands movement of the late 1970s, that the artist moved to Pipalyatjara with her husband and children.

Monica now paints with Ninuku Arts and is known for her use of bright colours and dynamic compositions. Her art is included in several national collections.


Pukara is an important rockhole in Western Australia, south west of Irrunytju (Wingellina). It is where the artist was born. The site is surrounded by kaliny-kalinypa (the honey grevillea plant), a type of bush lolly that sweetens the local water.

In the site’s Tjukurpa (Dreaming Story), two resident Wati Kutjara Wanampi (Water Snakes), a father and son, tire of visitors and ask them to leave. After travelling themselves, they return and begin collecting honey, when a Wati Mutuja (Black Ant) finds them and spears the son in the side. The son starts vomiting up yellow and orange seeds of all different types of honey grevillea, still found at the site today.

Art Centre
Ninuku Arts
Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney
RAFT Art Space, Alice Springs
Short Street Gallery, Broome
Outstation Gallery, Darwin
Chapman & Bailey, Melbourne
Aboriginal Signature, Bruessels (Belgium)
Redot, Singapore
Artkelch, Freiburg (Germany)
Harvey Art Projects, New York (USA)
Acrylic on linen, 2016

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