Miru Sculpture – Warakurna Arts

For my Pleasant Sunday Afternoon post Edwina has kindly allowed me to repost this post from her Warakurna Arts blog “Thriving in the Desert“.

To mark Warakurna Artists fifth year of operation it will be facilitating a powerful intergenerational men’s weaponry craft project. This project will have significant artistic outcomes including the creation of a series of major bronze sculptures.

A key aim of the men’s project is to support a reinvigoration of traditional wooden weaponry production and to immortalise the pieces in bronze. The project will also help celebrate the vibrancy and power of Ngaanyatjarra culture.

Sculptor Brendan Hackett of Blueprint Sculpture Foundry of Melbourne will help to facilitate this important project. Brendan has already collaborated with Ernest Bennett, senior painter and Master carver, to create a bronze miru (spearthrower).

The Bronze Miru is available only as a limited edition of six sculputures. Please contact Warakurna Artists + 61 (0)8 8955 8099 to enquire about the price of this sculpture and to place your order.


Ernest Bennett was born near Warbuton and now lives in Warakurna with his family. His country is Karrku not far from Warakurna.

A miru is extracted with economy as a vertical segment from a living mulga tree, its craftsman then working with the grain to reduce the portion to the thin even leaf, its minimal form following the demands each of its multiple functions.

The miru is the essence of western desert minimalism. As the extension of a man’s arm it will amplify the power and distance that a spear can be hurled. Its leaf-shaped-core doubles as a container for mixing pituri and can carry ochre. Its burnished edge, when rubbed on a softer wood makes fire. Tipped with a freshly napped blade, the same implement is used as a perfectly balanced adze to butcher fresh-cooked kangaroo or to hone an identical weapon, created on its own perfect template.

Ernest Bennett’s Miru has been cast and is poised, as if on the suspension of a rolled-over-motorcar, a vehicles leaf-spring-suspension adapted for a new use. All is kinetic energy – waiting for the target to come within the range of this lethal propellent.

Text courtesy of John Kean, Museum Victoria 2008
Photograph: Alexander Lyne

Note: pituri is more a central Australian term for native tobacco. Out west it is called mingkurlpa. Have a Pleasant Sunday Afternoon.

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