The artist :
Lee Cooper is wati Anangu, an Aboriginal man from the Central Desert area of Australia. Born in Port Augusta, he grew up in the tri-state area of Central Australia and learnt to carve from his grandfather Mr Cooper. He sold his first carving with Maruku in 2019.
Lee was born in 1972 and is from Docker River, NT.
Known collectively as punu, the carvings of Anangu (Central and Western Desert Aboriginal people) have their beginnings in the Tjukurpa when the Creation Ancestors fashioned the first weapons and tools, setting down the laws and conventions of their design.
The Central and Western Desert kali or boomerang is a non-returning one and usually crafted from wanari, mulga wood. It is used for hunting and fighting and in pairs as a percussive instrument for inma or ceremony. Size and shape differ according to the individual craftsman.
“Watingku pungkula tjilpirpungkula kutjarara irira, ayi – mira mira wirura mulapa.” Anangu wati tjilpi
‘A man strikes and splits the wood in two, trims it back, exclaiming with pride – paying close attention to his expert crafting.’ Senior Aboriginal man