Kukula McDonald

Language: Luritja
Region: Papunya, NT


Kukula McDonald is a Luritja woman from the renowned painting community of Papunya. Kukula predominantly paints black red-tailed cockatoos; although has been known to paint other native birds such as Sulphur-crested cockatoos, and in the past she painted wheelchairs. Kukula knows where to find “big mobs” of black cockatoos in the Central and Western Deserts and pays close attention to the details of the colour of the desert life, from grasses to sunsets to fruits to flowers.


In the background of Kukula’s paintings, she often depicts Uttumpatu the rocky outcrops that form ridge lines of hills beside her community of Papunya. These landscape formations hold cultural significance for the people of Papunya. Kukula has a knack for capturing the cheeky nature of the cockatoos with each one exhibiting an individual expression. Kukula likes to create stories about the relationships between the birds as she paints.  It is an activity that Kukula enjoys immensely, and this joy emanates from her canvases to the viewer.  Kukula’s artwork has been widely exhibited and collected. Her artwork was recently used on the cover of a book titled, First Nations Stories, Then and Now.

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