Installation view of Iluwanti Ken’s work <em>Walawuru ngunytju kukaku ananyi (Mother eagles going hunting)</em> on display as part of NGV Triennial from 3 December 2023 – 7 April 2024 at NGV International, Melbourne.

Iluwanti Ken

Photo: Meg Hansen

Iluwanti Ken
Pitjantjatjara born 1944

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lluwanti Ken is well known for her large-scale ink drawings, which feature graphic depictions of mother eagles hunting. These highly detailed drawings are created using punu sticks and express her tjukurpa (Aṉangu cultural heritage, encompassing past, present and future). Iluwanti Ken states that birds like the walawuru (eagles) and patupiri (swallows) have lessons for Aṉangu women about how to care for one’s children. These birds build strong wiltjas (shelters) for their family, they hunt for food and protect their young from dangers.

Iluwanti Ken is a Pitjantjatjara artist, originally from Watarru and now living in Amata, in the APY lands in South Australia. Recognised for her large-scale ink drawings that illustrate mother eagles hunting, these highly detailed drawings express her tjukurpa. Iluwanti Ken says, ‘I paint the stories of my father’s country – Walawuru tjukurpa – the story of the eagles. This is my tjukurpa and all my children’s tjukurpa too’.

Commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased with funds donated by Beatrice Moignard, and NGV Foundation, 2023