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Whiskey Tjukangku: Kalaya

Kalaya by Whiskey Tjukangku

The Artist

Perhaps the best biography of Whiskey Tjukangku  (born sometime around 1939 is from the artist himself.  From the Nomad Art Gallery, Iwantja Arts and Crafts, website he states:

“I grew up in both Ernabella and De Rose Hill, where my Mother would take me as a little tjiitji. I was a bush boy

and the old people still lived out in the bush then. I never went to school. When I was a young boy I worked on a

cattle station and learnt about cattle. When I grew to be a teenager I worked hard with the cattle in other

stations doing mustering and trucking them ready for travel. As a little boy, I sat there on the station for a

long time with a camel and Ernie Bagger who owned camel at Granite Downs (Indulkana). I couldn’t say my

aboriginal name when I was young so one day I got a new name. I went on a walking trip with Eric and the camel

on our way to Tyrone Downs Station. I got my name “Whiskey” from Eric whose camel had that same name.

That’s what he called me. I didn’t drink whiskey and give ’em (that name) to me! I worked at stations all

across the lands in all directions in my life. I spent a lot of time at Todmorden Station and another one owned by

Iron Bark Jim Davey. Here, I learnt how to work with horses. These men all passed away now. Oodnadatta is

where we drove cattle from Granite Downs. I got married on Granite Downs. I’ve had five children. My first

boy passed away in a car accident. My children are all grown up now. Their names are Lippsie Whiskey, Mona

Whiskey, Daisy Whiskey, Jennifer Whiskey and Rod Whiskey. Some are good artists like me. I was the first

man to start being an artist at Iwantja, so I was the original member. Alec Baker started here with me too. I

travelled to lots of places for special meetings. Mostly Adelaide, Alice Springs and I been to Sydney too. I went to

a glass workshop in Adelaide. I once took all the young men on a camp out country other side of Adelaide called

Curong for culture business. I paint a lot and I learned lino cuts at Iwantja. I remember culture designs that no

one else knows.”

Whiskey Tjukangku, Kalaya

The Work of Art

Whiskey's work of art  is a linocut  print  and a limited edition of ten, that depicts the emus and their tracks of his country, hence the term , 'Kalaya'. It is a bold striking work as the wood cut  images clearly define the subject.  The imagery is striking with contrasts between red and black tracks and birds and those  depicted in white.  Perhaps as Whiskey mentions above, these are cultural designs.