New Works


24-200 – Kathleen Maree Sorensen


1 in stock

Kathleen Maree Sorensen

91 x 91 cm: acrylic on canvas
Year: 2024

Lunki (witchetty grub)

Lunki (witchetty grubs) are the large, pinkish white, wood eating larvae of several moth species. During the pujiman (traditional, desert dwelling) era, lunki were a reliable food source, forming a staple of the Martu diet, and today they remain equally popular. Lunki are eaten either raw or cooked in hot ashes, with a raw nutty taste that becomes creamy when cooked. Though they are available through the year, lunki are particularly prevalent in late wantajarra (cool season). They are found in the trunks and roots of several tree species including acacia, tinjirla (coolabah), and yurungkura (red river gum). 

Martu forage for lunki by creating a small incision in the bark of a tree where the lunki is located, which is then used as the entry point for the insertion of a small hook, typically fashioned from a stick but sometimes using wire. Typically, lunki is collected incidentally during hunting trips or resting stops, and is a relatively relaxing, sociable activity. 

During the pujiman period, Martu would traverse very large distances annually in small family groups, moving seasonally from water source to water source, and hunting and gathering bush tucker as they went. Whilst desert life has moved away from mobile hunter-gatherer subsistence throughout the course of the twentieth century, bush tucker continues to be a significant component of the modern Martu diet. Hunting and gathering bush tucker remains equally valuable as an important cultural practice that is passed on intergenerationally. Though hunting and gathering implements have been modernised, methods of harvesting, tracking and the use of fire burning to drive animals from their retreats are still commonly practiced today.

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Martumili Artists acknowledges the Nyiyaparli and Martu people as the Traditional Owners of the land we live and work on. We also acknowledge the Traditional Owners throughout our country and our Elders; past, present and emerging.