Collection Online

Eagle story
  • Kanytjupayi Benson

wool, wire, human hair, raffia, gauze, found objects, tjanpi (spinifex), minarri (Woollybutt) (Eucalyptus sp.), wangurmu (Woollybutt) (Eucalyptus sp.), kurtanu (grass)
(a) 67.6 × 50.0 × 59.0 cm
(b) 80.0 × 49.8 × 55.0 cm
(c) 77.7 × 38.5 × 73.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
Papulankutja, Western Australia
Accession Number
Indigenous Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased with funds donated by Supporters and Patrons of Indigenous Art, 2003
© Kantjupayi Benson, courtesy of Tjanpi Desert Weavers, NPY Women's Council
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
Not on display

These woven tjanpi figures represent three tjukurpa narratives associated with the artist’s Country.

Wati Kutjara – Two men represents men with special powers who came all the way from Perth and camped briefly near Blackstone before visiting Kuli Pirtin and Bang Mana Milpin near Blackstone. Then they went on to Docker River, 200 kilometres north-east of Blackstone, where another ancestral man killed them.

Eagle story comes from near Warnan, a site associated with the Seven Sisters and concerns an eagle man who always favoured his second wife, a galah. Consumed with jealousy, the first wife, a crow broke the galah’s arms and legs with her digging stick and left her. The eagle man followed his favourite wife’s tracks, saw evidence of the bloody fight and her demise on his return to camp, hit and killed the crow woman and burnt her body.

Bush banana represents a mother and her two children who used to camp and eat bush bananas at Kuli Pirtin. One day the mother left her son and daughter and went out to collect bush bananas, watched by two men hiding in the bushes. One of them threw his boomerang, hit and killed the mother, then tracked down and killed her two children.

Kantjupayi’s work stands out for its dangerous marriage of humour and darkness, as all the stories she has done are quite dark. These particular tjanpi (desert grass) figures evolved from the Tjanpi Weaving project organised by the NPY Women’s Council, which began at Blackstone in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands in 1995.