• Artwork:Clapsticks
  • Artist:Marcia Alice Panangka
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Clapsticksby Marcia Alice Panangka

Hand crafted Clap or music sticks are used during Aboriginal ceremonies. They are made from Mulga wood and are burned using a hot wire to create patterns such as concentric circles which represent camp sites, curved lines which represent rain or underground water, or straight lines which represent routes to camp sites or places of significance, or U shapes which represent people. Aboriginal artists apply this basic set of symbols which can have multiple meanings depending on the context to tell stories of the dreamtime.

  • Artist:Marcia Alice Panangka
  • Title:Clapsticks
  • ID:MAO912148
  • Medium:Mulga Wood
  • Size:28 cm
  • Region:Titjikala, Central Australia


Marcia Alice Panangka was born in 1960 and was born at Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa Community) in Central Australia. Her mother was an Anmatyerre/Alyawarra woman whose traditional country is around Ross River. Her father is an Arrente man from Amoonguna Community. Marcia has three brothers and a sister and grew up around Ross River Station where both of her parents worked. Marcia moved to Titjikala (formerly known as Maryvale) when she married and raised two sons in the community. It was here in 1977 when she first took her hand to painting.

Marcia previously worked with Keringke Arts at Santa Teresa Community where she produced silks and paintings. Her style was characterised by fine dotting and circular designs consistent with the Keringke style. Her traditional Dreamings include Pigeon, Yeperenye and Snake. Her Arwenge (personal Dreaming) is the Pigeon from Mt. Ooraminna. These Dreamings have been passed to her from her mother and father respectively.

Marcia has produced a wide range of wooden artefacts and sculptures for Central Art; this has included snakes, goannas, bush turkeys, music sticks and coolamons. These wooden artefacts are crafted from the roots of particular trees found growing around Titjikala. The wood is cut with an axe and left to the women to carve and decorate. The decorations traditionally were done using hot wire which is heated in a camp fire until red hot and then placed on the wooden object to burn in the patterns and designs. Today that has now included the use of paints as well.

Marcia has participated in several group exhibitions over the years, particularly in the Desert Mob Art Show based in Alice Springs but also in Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne. She has had a solo exhibition in 2006 with Helen Marshall Gallery based in Canberra. In 2008 her artwork was selected to be depicted on a National Back of Australia ATM.

Marcia is a talented sculpture and crafts woman and Central Art looks forward to continuing to work with her in the future and sharing her beautiful woodwork on our website.

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