• Kangaroo and Mala Dreaming
  • Kangaroo and Mala Dreaming
  • Kangaroo and Mala Dreaming
  • Kangaroo and Mala Dreaming

Sonya Napaljarri Cooke

Kangaroo and Mala Dreaming

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    • Acrylic on Canvas
    • Dimensions: 40cm x 30cm
    • Cat No. 603-17

Sonya Cooke is the wife of Henry Jakamarra Cooke, who was a dynamic community leader that passed away in 2022 at the age of 102. They had 14 sons and daughters. Sonya currently resides in Katherine for medical reasons. She began painting in the early 1980s and created a large portfolio of solo art, as well as art that she painted with Henry. Her Dreaming (Jukurrpa) is typically depicted through dot and line work. As with most Central Desert artists, her art is created from a topographical viewpoint. Her stories are of local animals and the people that are the guardians of the areas she paints. These are the beings that have lived there since the beginning of time. Sonya is a traditional lady that has great knowledge of Warlpiri history and culture. She also has great understanding of local medicine plants and their uses, and has passed this knowledge to her daughters and granddaughters. This dreaming tells about the small kangaroo that comes out at night searching for food. The mala live in holes in the open desert. The kangaroos hop around our country. They know all the trees, creeks and water holes.

Lajamanu has a population of around 900 Warlpiri people. The older generation see Warnayaka as an avenue to achieve a number of needs that are present in their community. At the centre these elders still create their dot paintings. The most important thing expressed by members, is the need to preserve and pass on the cultural significance of Warlpiri, the culture of the people of Lajamanu, which encompasses not only art, but includes language, social structure, law and country. In doing so it is understood that excellence in art, prosperity from art sales, employment opportunities and preservation of pride in being Warlpiri will result. The art centre is a Warlpiri corporation and is staffed mainly by the children of the older generation of Indigenous Lajamanu residents who remember their first contact with white Australia. They maintain the computerised data base and run the art centre production. Older and younger community members produce Aboriginal dot paintings and make wooden artefacts. The centre is a place for a cup of tea and a song and dance, and then a trip into the Spinifex desert to look for goanna and lizards or to collect bush coconut, bush banana, yams and bush honey from native bees.

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