For the big picture, we commissioned a new painting from one of the leading Pintupi artists, Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula. We documented how the artwork was created on site. We worked closely with him and other elders to ensure that all cultural sensitivities were respected and that appropriate permissions were secured. We do have model releases for all people in the photos and a property release for the artwork which Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula titled "Emu Dreaming." The birds are represented in the painting by tracks. We selected a local rock outcrop, the site of a legend known as "Woman Dreaming," as the appropriate spot for the big picture.
As a finishing touch, I decided to add a goanna lizard to the big picture as an optional element in some frames. Central Australia has the world's greatest diversity of lizards, and for the Pintupi people they used to be an essential food source. Moreover, the patterns on the goanna's skin are a parallel to the dot painting technique favored by the Aboriginal artists of the desert. Goanna is an important animal spirit who occurs in many important stories of the Pintupi, and it symbolizes the animate spirit, which I recognize, like the Aboriginal people I worked with, in every aspect of nature. In some frames we also featured the figure of the artist, Turkey Tolson Tjupurrula, in the background.
- Frans Lanting