The Art and Culture of the Anangu People

The Art and Culture of the Anangu People

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 03/09/2016

Reading time: 3 mins

The Anangu people live in the areas surrounding Uluru, Australia’s most iconic landmark.

They harbour one of the oldest living cultures in the world, and continue to preserve age-old traditions and heritage in the present day. A visit to Uluru, Kata Tjuta, and the other landmarks in this region will give you an insight into the importance of the Anangu people. Visiting cultural centres will teach you about their culture and traditions, so you can appreciate the landscape even more.

The Culture of the Anangu People

For the Anangu people, life revolves around the Tjurkurpa, stories from the beginning. Because of this, life and new birth is extremely important to the tribe. The hare wallaby, woma python, and the poisonous snake, Liru, are all important ancestral beings in this area. Many Tjurkurpa share information about their movement and impact on the land.

The culture of the Anangu people is rich in stories that elders share with younger generations. Stories that involve the travels of the Woma Python from hundreds of miles away. Stories relate to the formation of the land, and act as maps when Anangu travel. Rituals and ceremonies form a large part of life for the Anangu people. Song, dance, art and ceremony are the perfect vessels for recounting traditional stories and keeping narratives alive in the present day.

Art of the Anangu People

All around Uluru and Kata Tjuta there are jutting red rocks etched with centuries-old carvings. Though these date back thousands of years, rock art and paintings still form an important part of the Anangu culture. This art can be used for ceremonial and teaching purposes, passing stories down to the younger generations. There are numerous rock shelters surrounding Uluru that offer visitors a glimpse of Anangu artwork. Many of the artworks are created by mixing water, natural mineral substances, and animal fat to produce bright oranges, reds, and yellows. If you want to learn more about the artwork of the Anangu people, you can head to the art markets in the Town Square and check out the cultural centre in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

Language of the Anangu People

Before the Europeans invaded Australia, there was over 700 Indigenous languages. Many of these are now extinct, but the Anangu tribe still speak Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara, the local languages. However, there are some members of the tribe that can speak up to six different Indigenous languages.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.