Monica Watson - Pukara (2)

Monica Watson - Pukara (2)

Regular price $1,655.00

Artist: Monica Watson

Title: Pukara

Cat No: 15-375

Size: 122 x 91 cm  Acrylic on Canvas

This is a story about kaliny-kalinypa (honey grevillea plant), which Anangu (the term for people in Pitjantjatjara) use as a type of bush lolly, sucking the nectar out of the plant. In the Tjukurpa (Dreaming story) a father and son, Wati Kutjara Wanampi (two male water snakes), are living at Pukara, an important waterhole site near Irrunytju (Wingellina). Because of the kalinykalinypa which is found at the site the water there has a sweet taste and lots of people go there to access it. But father Wati Wanampi doesn’t like this and he tells them to go back to their own country.The people leave and the father and son travel to Willuna, where they camp for weeks.

When they return to Pukara, they are awoken by a buzzing sound. Minyma Punpunpa (the female flies) are making lots of noise as they buzz around the honey bush. This prompts the father and son to get up to go and collect honey. While they are doing this, a Wati Mututa (black ant) finds the father and son, and spears the son in his side. The young son starts spitting and he spits up the yellow and orange seeds of all the different types of honey grevillea. These plants can still be found at this site today. There is a big variety of honey grevillea plants including kaliny-kalinypa, ultunkunpa, piruwa and witjinti.


Pukara is an important rockhole in Western Australia, south west of Irrunytju (Wingellina). It is where the artist was born. The site is surrounded by kaliny-kalinypa (the honey grevillea plant), a type of bush lolly that sweetens the local water.

In the site's Tjukurpa (dreaming story), two resident Wati Kutjara Wanampi (water snakes), a father and son, tire of visitors and ask them to leave. After travelling themselves, they return and begin collecting honey, when a Wati Mutuja (black ant) finds them and spears the son in the side. The son starts vomiting up yellow and orange seeds of all different types of honey grevillea, still found at the site today.


Birth Date: 1943
Language: Pitjantjatjara
Place of Birth: Pukara
Community: Pipalyatjara: SA

A Pipalytjara elder, Monica Putjina Watson was born in or around 1940 at the rockhole Pukara in Western Australia, an important site for the water snake Tjukurpa (dreaming story). She left her birthplace with her family as a young girl and worked for a time in the crafts room at Ernabella Arts in Pukatja, South Australia. It was not until the homelands movement of the late 1970s, that the artist moved to Pipalyatjara with her husband and children.

Monica now paints with Ninuku Arts and is known for her use of bright colours and dynamic compositions. Her art is included in several national collections.

Puntjina, also known as Monica, was born circa 1943 at Pukara, an important rockhole and water snake Tjukurpa (Dreaming story) site in Western Australia.  As a young girl, she walked to Pukatja (Ernabella) with her father and his three wives - the youngest of them was celebrated artist Wingu Tingima. When she was a bit older, Puntjina worked in the cra room at Pukatja, but she then married Wimitja Watson - a Ngangkari (traditional healer) - and moved with him to Amata, where they had many children. The family wanted to be closer to their home country so during the homelands movement of the late 1970s they moved to Pipalyatjara. Puntjina is an important elder in Pipalyatjara, where she continues to live with her family. Both she and her husband were heavily involved in cultural business and travel across much of the area to participate in it. Her husband passed away at the end of 2017.

Monica has become known for her vibrant use of colour. She also has a quirky approach to composition, and framing her paintings with an intricate border created by a plethora of coloured dots. Monica is a committed artist, painting every day at Ninuku Art Centre, and has established herself as one of the centre’s leading artists.

Group Exhibitions:

2017 From the past to the present with Ninuku Arsts - Aboriginal Signature Estrangin gallery, Brussels, Europe

2017 From the past to the present with Ninuku Arsts - Aboriginal Signature Estrangin gallery, Brussels, Europe

2017 Ninuku Prints - Chapman and Baileys Gallery

2016 Desart Mob, Araluen - Alice Springs

2016 Kala ngura ngayuku Colours of my home/country - 1. - 24. July 2016

2015 Ninuku Tjuta - Sinapore

2015 Ninuku Tjuta - Singapore

2015 Araluen - Alice Springs

2012 Manta Iritjangku: Ngura Kutjupalakutu, Ancient Land: New Territory, Gallery nine5 and Harvey Art Projects, Soho, New York 2012 Nganampa Ngura, ReDot Gallery, Singapore

2012 APY Lands Emerging Art, Talapi Gallery, Alice Springs

2012 Painting the Land, Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney

2012 Desert Mob 2012, Araluen, Alice Springs

2012 One Song, Different Tune, Short Street Gallery, Broome

2011 Wa Ngintaka Tjukurpa - Yangi Yangi Fox and Ninuku Arts, Short Street Gallery, Broome 2011 The Shared Language of Paint, Exhibion of works from Ildiko Kovacs Residency, RAFT artspace, Alice Springs 
Group Exhibitions
2011 Ngura Wirukanyanku - This is a Beauful Place, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

2011 Desert Country, Art Gallery South Australia, Adelaide

2011 Ngura Kalatjara - Land and Colour, AP Bond, Adelaide

2011 Shalom Gamarada Charity Fundraiser, Sydney

2011 Kulina Inma - Listen to Song, Tunbridge Gallery, Margaret River

2011 Desert Mob 2011, Araluen, Alice Springs 2011 The Western APY Lands, Art Kelch Touring Exhibition, Germany

2011 Recent Works by Ninuku Arts, Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney

2010 Kulunypa Tjuta Paintamilani: Lots of Small Painngs, Short Street Gallery (as part of CIAF) Boland Centre, Cairns 2010 Warka Kuwari Walkatjunanyi: New Paintings by the Artists of Ninuku, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

2010 Women and Colour, Chapman Gallery, Canberra

2010 Desert Mob, Araluen, Alice Springs 

2009 Ngura Tjuta: Big Country, Ninuku Arts show, Short St Gallery, Broome

2009 Tjungu: All Together, Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney

2009 Ninuku Arsts 'Ngintaka Tjukurpa: Perene Lizard Dreaming', Alcaston Gallery

2009 Kulila Nganampa Tjukurpa. Listen to our Stories. Chapman Gallery, Canberra. 2009 Desert Mob, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs

2009 Ninuku Arsts print exhibion ‘Pirinyi’, Nomad Art Gallery

2008 Ninuku Arts Inaugral Sydney Show, Hogarth Galleries, Sydney

2008 South Australian Living Arist's Festival, Art Gallery of South Australia 2008 Ninuku Tjukurpa - Bilby Dreaming, Ninuku Arts Group Show, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne 2008 35th Alice Prize 2008

2008 Pirinyi, Prints from Ninuku Arts Arsts, Australian Print Workshop Gallery, Melbourne

2008 Mark Making in Print, South Australian Impressions, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide

2008 Desert Mob, Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs

2008 Tjukurpa Kutjupa Kutjupa: Other Stories from Ninuku Arts and Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Short St Gallery, Broome

2007 APY Lands show, Australia Dreaming Art Gallery, Melbourne

2007 Skin on Skin, Tuggeranong Arts Centre, Canberra

2007 Anangu Backyard, The Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide

2007 Desert Mob, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs

2007 Our Mob, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide

2007 Ninuku Arts In Focus, Randell Lane Fine Art, Perth

2009 Dr Ross Moore, ‘Ninuku Artists: Perentie Lizard










2009 Dr Ross Moore, ‘Ninuku Artists: Perentie Lizard Dreaming’, Australian Aboriginal Art, Issue 2 June 2009.

2009 'Fresh Look at Aboriginal Stories' Charly Smith, The Canberra Times, September 2009

2010 Art Monthly, Front Cover Image, Issue 236 Summer 2010 2010 Promotional card set, Desert Country Exhibition, AGSA, Adelaide

2010 Catalogue, Desert Country, AGSA, Adelaide

2011 ArtLink Indigenous Issue, Western APY Lands 'Boutique' Art to Europe, Volume 31, June 2011

2011 Western APY Lands exhibition catalogue, Art Kelch, Germany

2011 Invitation image, Recent Works by Ninuku Arts, Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney 2011 Claire Eltringham, catalogue essay, The Shared Language of Paint, RAFT artspace, Alice Springs

2011 Desert Mob exhibition catalogue, September 2011

2012 Jukurrpa 2013 Diary, Jukurrpa Books, IAD Press 2012 Nganampa Ngura, Catalogue Essay by Claire Eltringham, May 2012

2012 Manta Irititjangku: Ngura Kutjupalakutu, Catalogue Essay by Nici Cumpston (AGSA), May 2012

2012 Aboriginal Art & Culture: An American Eye Blog, Aboriginal Art in America, Again (Summer 2012), June 24 2012 Aboriginal Art & Culture: An American Eye Blog, Ancestral Modern in Seattle, Ninuku in New York, May 27 2012 Artists Talking, A reportage of: Art, Design, Gallery & NYC Events by David Barish, New Pallates of an Ancient Land, June 1 2012

2012 Australian Consulate General (USA), Feature, June 2012 2012 NAISA, Australian Aboriginal Contemporary Art Show in New York City by Willie Brown, Saturday 19 May 2012

2012 PRI' The World (News Program), Vibrant Aboriginal Art Exhibit Gives Power to Indigenous Australians by Marlon Bishop, July 4 2012

2012 Sun Valley Property News, Art Scene, Harvey Art Projects Goes Coast to Coast, May 2012

2012 Kluge-Ruhe, Aboriginal Art Collection of University of Virginia, News piece, May 2012

2012 APY art bites into the Big Apple, Feature by Tim Lloyd, The Advertiser, Saturday June 30 2012

2012 Canberra Times, Black, White and Beautiful by Sasha Grishin, February 2012

2012 Desert Mob 2012 Catalogue, Desart and Araluen, September 2012

2012 Angloinfo, Art and Exhibitions in Singapore, Singapore Event: 'Nganampa Ngura' (Our Place), 26 April 2012

2012 artinasia, Nganampa Ngura (Our Place)- Senior men and women's paintings about their home country, ReDot Gallery 14 April 2012