We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of one the APY Land's grand old ladies, Kunmanara Kawiny of Tjala Arts. She was one of the oldest people in the region and was highly regarded for her knowledge of Law and Country. She was also a gifted artist who brought the magnificent beauty of the bush to her canvas.
Kunmanara Kawiny was born in the bush c.1921, close to Amata. She lived a traditional life for most of her years and as a result, gained a profound understanding of her country and Tjukurrpa (Dreaming). She spent some time living in Irrunytju (Wingellina) in Western Australia, but returned to her homelands many years ago.
Kawiny began painting at Tjala Arts (formerly Minymaku Arts) around 1999. However, it was only in the past four years that her profile rose strongly, with public and private collections acquiring her work in rapid succession. Kawiny was never prolific, so waiting lists for her work developed.
Her late work was defined by an elegant, diffused layering of dots that whispered the secrets of a wise and strong woman. The works possessed the same self-confidence and poise as their creator, and are as timeless as the country they portray.
Kunmanara Kawiny died on Country with family around her. Kawiny will be greatly missed. It has been a great honour to represent her work over the years. Our thoughts are with her family, community and all at Tjala Arts.
May she rest in peace.