Simon Hogan paints history, past and present, with the gentle authority of one who has lived many lives. Born in the heart of Spinifex country in the early ‘1930’s, Simon was already an initiated man when the Australian government sent out patrol officers to collect natives from the area of possible contamination by atomic testing at nearby Emu Fields and later Maralinga. Simon moved to Mount Margret Mission near Laverton but famously, walked the 1000km plus back to his traditional country. This feat amongst many others was said as his legend grew. He was a pioneer for the Spinifex people to return to their traditional country and succeed in gaining native title in the year 2000. Although he has a wealth of knowledge of sites within his vast country, he now mostly paints his significant site of Lingka, centrally located in traditional Spinifex Lands.
Here is the songline of Wati Kutjara Tjukurpa (Two Men Creation Line) generating from Lingka. It comprises Wati Walawuru (Wedge Tail Eagle Man) and Wati Wirutja (Owl Man) who both reside at Lingka. The narrative follows a particular day when, Wati Walawuru asks the other man to “Come hunting with me” but Wati Wirutja decides that he will stay home this day. Wati Walawuru soars off in search of game and is drawn to travel a long distance. Meanwhile at Lingkanya a big rain comes and severely floods the site, drowning Wati Wirutja. These are Creation Beings, the first beings, those usually bestowed with great metamorphic powers who shaped the landscape as they moved through it, leaving the physical reminders of their supremacy for others to follow.
The songlines follow the physical and moral paths these powerful beings undertook. They then become intertwined with song and ceremony to encompass the land and the means to culturally embrace it. For Simon, the Tjukurpa is within him, it is part of him and he recalls the stories with passion and familiarity all at once, as if animatedly transposed to the very sites he speaks of.