Janganpa Jukurrpa (Brush-tail Possum Dreaming)- Mawurrji
Phyllis Napurrurla Williams
107 x 76 cm
Acrylic on linen
Bid on this piece
About the Artist
Phyllis Napurrurla Williams was born a long time ago at Mount Doreen Station, an extensive cattle breeding station, about 55 km from Yuendumu in the Northern Territory. As a small child Phyllis went bush with her family learning all about her country. For a while she worked at Mount Doreen Station, then she moved to Yuendumu and now she lives in Nyirripi, once an outstation of Yuendumu but now a small remote Aboriginal community. She is a widow and as no children. Phyllis has been painting since 1988 with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, an Aboriginal community 290 km north-west of Alice Springs. Phyllis particularly likes painting Janganpa Jukurrpa (Brush Tail Possum Dreaming) but also paints other stories, stories that have been passed down to her by her father and her mother and their parents before them for millennia. When she’s not painting she loves to go hunting with members of the community for bush tucker.
About the Work
Janganpa Jukurrpa (common brush-tail possum [Trichosurus vulpecula] Dreaming) travels all over Warlpiri country. ‘Janganpa’ are nocturnal animals that often nest in the hollows of white gum trees (‘wapunungka’). This story comes from a big hill called Mawurrji, west of Yuendumu and north of Pikilyi (Vaughan Springs). A group of ‘janganpa’ ancestors resided there. Every night they would go out in search of food. Their hunting trips took them to Wirlki and Wanapirdi, where they found ‘pamapardu’ (flying ants). They journeyed on to Ngarlkirdipini looking for water. A Nampijinpa women was living at Mawurrji with her two daughters. She gave her daughters in marriage to a Jupurrurla ‘janganpa’ but later decided to run away with them. The Jupurrurla angrily pursued the woman. He tracked them to Mawurrji where he killed them with a stone axe. Their bodies are now rocks at this place. Warlpiri people perform a young men’s initiation ceremony, which involves the Janganpa Jukurrpa. The Janganpa Jukurrpa belongs to Jakamarra/Jupurrurla men and Nakamarra/Napurrurla women. In Warlpiri paintings traditional iconography is used to represent this Jukurrpa. ‘Janganpa’ tracks are often represented as ‘E’ shaped figures and concentric circles are used to depict the trees in which the ‘janganpa’ live, and also the sites at Mawurrji.