Iluwanti Ken

Photography by Tjala Arts

Iluwanti Ken (born 1944) is a Pitjantjatjara artist, originally from Watarru and now living in Amata, in the APY lands in South Australia.

“I paint the stories of my father’s country – Walawuru Tjukurpa – the story of the eagles. This is my tjukurpa and all of my children’s tjukurpa too.”

Iluwanti is well known for her large scale ink drawings which feature graphic depictions of mother eagles hunting. These highly detailed drawings are created using punu sticks and express her tjukurpa (Anangu cultural heritage, encompassing past, present and future). She says that birds like the walawuru (eagles) and patupiri (swallows) have lessons for Anangu women about how to care for one’s children. These birds build strong wiltjas (shelters) for their family, they hunt for food and protect their young from dangers.

In 2020, Iluwanti won the 37th Telstra NATSIAA Works on Paper Award and was a finalist in the 2021 Dobell Drawing Prize at NAS Sydney and the 2020 National Works on Paper Prize at Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery. Several of her works were featured in Tarnanthi 2020: Open Hands, at the Art Gallery of South Australia. In addition to her art practice, Iluwanti sits on the board of directors for both Tjala Arts and the APY Art Centre Collective. Her work is held in numerous public collections including the Art Gallery of South Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, QAGOMA, Artbank and the Singapore Art Museum.

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