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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Wati Kutjarra (Two Brothers Dreaming)

Photo: Susan Cole

Wati Kutjarra (Two Brothers Dreaming)


Tjumpo Tjapanangka

Australian Aboriginal, Kukatja people, Balgo (Wirrimanu), Kimberley/Western Desert, Western Australia, 1929-2007

Two brothers created land forms and models of behavior that appear in many narratives of the Western Desert. In this painting, they have created a vast salt-encrusted lake known as Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay). Tjumpo Tjapanangka reminds us of their presence by gently inserting two vertical lines at the top and bottom to indicate where the brothers camped. Across the middle is a white line where they built a protective windbreak. His formal symmetry reflects the ordered nature of ancestral creation. Known for walking vast distances himself, the artist’s work is committed to his custodianship of these epics and the sites that he grew up in.

--Pam McClusky, Curator of African and Oceanic Art, 2012

Synthetic polymer paint on canvas
70 7/8 x 59 1/16 in. (180 x 150cm)
Gift of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum
Provenance: [Warlayirti Artists, Balgo Hills, Australia]; Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan, Seattle, Washington, 2004
Photo: Susan Cole
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art from the Kaplan & Levi Collection, May 31 - Sept. 12, 2012 (Nashville, Tenessee, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, June 23 - Oct. 15, 2017; Madison, Wisconsin, Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, Jan. 26 - Apr. 22, 2018; Austin, Texas, Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, June 3 - Sept. 9, 2018; Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, Audain Art Museum, Oct. 5, 2018 - Jan. 28, 2019). Text by Pamela McClusky, Wally Caruana, Lisa Graziose Corrin, and Stephen Gilchrist. Cat. no. 39, pp. 35, 130-131, reproduced fig. 7.
Published ReferencesIshikawa, Chiyo, ed. A Community of Collectors: 75th Anniversary Gifts to the Seattle Art Museum. Seattle, Washington: Seattle Art Museum, 2007; reproduced p. 83.

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.

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