Earthenware Pot, C.1987
Thancoupie (Thanakupi) AO Thaynakwith people, Napranum, Queensland, 1937–2011
Spherical pot, Trinity Beach, Queensland, 1987stoneware, incised and painted with oxides, 30.5 x 30.5 cm, 2007.5
The spherical form of this pot shows oxidised decoration depicting 'Corrup' the kangaroo and 'Chinjarl' the wallaby, a myth about world creation with a continuous design of native Australian animals and marine life dancing for joy.
Thanakupi is a Thanaquith Elder of the Weipa region of the Cape York. She teaches indigenous history, culture and knowledge through artistic expression having developed her skills in pottery in Sydney graduating from East Sydney Technical College in the 1970s. By 2007 she was the highest decorated Indigenous artist in Australia, with two honorary doctorates from Griffith University and James Cook University; and an Order of Australia.
Pottery is not a traditional Aboriginal art form, but from childhood she would have been familiar with the baked clay balls used to make ritual paint. Noting how ceramics from ancient civilisations had survived the centuries, she realised that pottery could keep her own culture alive. Examples of her work can be found in many galleries and museums throughout Australia.