Rene was born in 1958, in Ernabella, South Australia. Her family are Pitjantjatjara people, and her Pitjantjatjara name is Wanuny. She grew up in northern South Australia, and then moved to Docker River following her marriage to Richard Kulitja. When Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park was handed back to traditional owners in 1985, the couple moved to Muṯitjulu to work in tourism. Rene became involved in arts and crafts at the women's centre there shortly after, and was a founding director of Walkatjara Art.
During the mid-1990s, Kulitja worked with other women artists on the interior design of the park's cultural centre. She also took a course on glass work techniques at the University of South Australia, along with three other women. After a successful exhibition of work made using these new skills, Kulitja and the other women received a commission from the Ayers Rock Resort at Yulara for a panel of glass decorated with traditional designs. In 2000, Kulitja was one of over 300 Aboriginal women from Central Australia to perform at the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney.
In 2002, Kulitja worked with Balarinji Studio in Sydney to design the exterior of a Qantas Boeing 737-800 fuselage. The design she painted was of Uluṟu. It was based on traditional designs and sacred Dreaming legends. The fleet was launched on 14 February 2002, with a special ceremony performed by singers and dancers from Muṯitjulu. The word (y)ananyi means "to go" or "to travel" in Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara. It was the third Qantas aircraft to be painted in an Aboriginal design. Kulitja did something similar again in 2010, when a semi-trailer was decorated with another of her designs as part of a national road show by Maṟuku Arts.
Important copyright notice
The Copyright of all images and documentation remains with Sabine Haider. The Australian Copyright Act protects all artists from unauthorised copying by giving control over original works of art to the artist by law. However depending on the use proposed, Sabine Haider from Central Art – Aboriginal Art Store can facilitate reproduction of works with the permission of the artist as we have developed close relationships over the years with many individual painters and craftspeople.
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