Aurukun artist Keith Wikmunea is the recipient of the 2023 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award for his sculpture ‘Ku’, Theewith & Kalampang: The White Cockatoo, Galah and the Wandering Dog’. Keith’s carving was part of Aurukun’s Wik and Kugu Arts Centre exhibition at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair.
The senior Apalech artist was born in 1967 and raised in Aurukun. Keith says the sculpture represents who he is as a Thu’ Apalech man from Cape York Peninsula. “The colours on this tree are specific to my clan, the Thu’ Apalech people. In Wik Mungkan, my first spoken language, we call this tree yuk thanchal. This tree is also known as milkwood in English and is the same tree that my ancestors have been using since the beginning of time to create their artefacts. My puulwuy (father’s totem) and my kathwuy (mother’s totem) are represented here too.”