Katnjupayi Benson | A Tale of Two Sittings

Katnjupayi Benson (Ngaanyatjarra) born c. 1933 comes from Papulankutja (Blackstone Community, 300 kms west of the Western Australia (W.A.), Northern Territory and South Australia borders); and spends time between Blackstone and the Docker River communities. She began to make baskets and animal sculptures in 1995 due to a weaving project within the community.

  • Wati Kutjara – Trans. Two Men. (2003) Papulankutja, (W.A.), (Wool, wire, human hair, raffia, gauze, found objects, spinifex and woolybutt) are two woven Tjanpi figures representing the Wati Kutjara Tjukurrpa; an important narrative associated with the artist. The Two Men were ancestral beings 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 kms North East of Blackstone where another man killed them.
  • Bush Banana (2003) Papulankutja, (WA). (Wool, wire, human hair, raffia, gauze, found objects, spinifex, woollybutt, and grass). These three woven Tjanpi figures represent the Bush Banana Tjukurra; a dark narrative associated with the artists Country, which concerns a mother and her two children, a boy and a girl, who are used to stop camp and eat the bush bananas. One day the mother leaves the children at camp while she goes to collect some bananas. Two men are hiding in nearby bushes watching her and one throws his boomerang at her, hitting her across the back of her neck and kills her. He then followed her tracks back to camp and found the children. He threw the boomerang at the boy; hit him on back of his legs and killed him. He then chased the young girl and killed her too.

Kantjupayi is a respected senior Ngaanyatjarra law woman who has a son and two daughters. Both her son and one daughter are blind and Kantjupayi contributes all of her income from her art to these children.

Her fibre work was featured strongly in the national touring exhibitions Straight From the Heart (1998); Manguri Weaving (2001); and Seven Sisters: Fibre Works Arising from the West, Craftwest Centre for Contemporary Craft and Design, Perth, (2004).

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