This paintings represents the story of the Utnea. This is a very important story for Lindsay Bird Mpetyane that belongs to his country, Ilkawerne. This story, its songs, dances and symbols have been passed down to Lindsay from his father. Lindsay is now a senior custodian for this story.
The site of the Utnea story starts at Harper Springs, south west of the Utopia Region. This story tells of Lindsay’s ancestors travelling as carpet snakes, coming across many waterholes and campsites. They are hunting and singing their sacred songs, before stopping and changing back to people. There is one carpet snake named Utnea who is king of all the carpet snakes. Lindsay says Utnea is the ‘boss man’ for Ilkawerne country.
In this painting, Lindsay depicts Utnea slowly making his way through the country as shown by the wavy lines. The long parallel lines running down the centre represent travelling lines of the Ilkawerne people. The short parallel lines represent the wickema (rib) of Utnea.
Artist: Lindsay Bird
Skin name: Mpetyane (also spelled Mbitjana)
Language group: Anmatyerre
Area: Utopia Region, Central Australia
Born: c. 1942