White Cocky by Desmond Impu Tjapaltjarri


This important story was passed on to Desmond by his Grandfather, the late Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri before he passed away in 2008. It is Desmond’s own interpretation of the Cockatoo Dreaming story.

In this painting Desmond depicts a cockatoo that is saving some kangaroo meat for its unhatched young, when a crow begins fighting with the cockatoo for the meat. The fighting continues for quite some time, eventually leaving large holes on the ground’s surface (which are depicted by the 3 roundels). During the scuffle the crow wounds the cockatoo after hitting it with a rock.

Nearby a female eagle sees what is happening and feels the need to help the cockatoo, so she gives the crow the impression she wants to make love with him, at which time the crow diverts his attention away from fighting the cockatoo to this more attractive offer. While the crow is distracted and under the impression the eagle will follow up on her offer, the eagle throws red-hot spinifex wax at him which badly scalds his genitals. The crow flys away in pain.

To the layman the landscape from which this story is derived clearly shows the eagle, which is a hill that overlooks the cockatoo, a brilliant white rock, protecting it from bad weather, and the white stones found scattered on the ground are the cockatoo’s feathers.