Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) - Mikanji
Juliette Nampijinpa Brown
76 x 76 cm
Acrylic on linen
Bid on this piece
About the Artist
Juliette Nampijinpa Brown was born in 1971 in Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community 290 km from Alice Springs in NT of Australia. Juliette was born into a long line of artists, her mother is Wendy Nungarrayi Brown and her grandparents are Bessie Nakamarra Sims (1932 – 2012) and Paddy Japaljarri Sims (1916-2010), all renowned artists, nationally and internationally and who paint and have painted with Walukurlangu Artists. Juliette attended Yuendumu School, which she enjoyed very much. When she left school she became a volunteer with the Old People’s Program, a program that helps care for the elderly. She has three children, “all grown up” and five grandchildren. Juliette has been painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, since 2008. She paints her grandfather’s Jukurrpa stories; Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) and Pamapardu Jukurrpa (Flying Ant Dreaming). These stories relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. Juliette uses an unrestricted palette with traditional patterns and designs that stretch back at least fifty millennia to depict her traditional Jukurrpa. Juliette loves painting and enjoys sitting with her grandchildren while she paints. As the grandchildren watch she passes down her grandfather’s stories. When Juliette is not painting she loves to go hunting for honey ants.
About the Work
The country associated with this ‘ngapa Jukurrpa’ (water Dreaming) is Mikanji, a watercourse west of Yuendumu that is usually dry. There are ‘mulju’ (soakages) in this creek bed. The ‘kirda’ (owners) of this Dreaming site are Nangala/Nampijinpa women and Jangala/Jampijinpa men. Mikanji is an important water Dreaming site, and features in at least three different water Dreaming tracks.
In one story, the water Dreaming travelled from Puyurru, northwest of Yuendumu, to a ‘mulju’ (soakage) in the Mikanji creek. It unleashed a huge storm there. Two old blind women of the Nampijinpa skin group were sitting by the side of the soakages. As the two women strained their eyes to see the sky, tears formed in their eyes, creating the rain. Their spirits can still be seen at Mikanji in the form of two ‘ngapiri’ (river red gums) growing near the soakage.
A second water Dreaming track that passes through Mikanji is also owned by the Nangala/Jangala and Nampijinpa/Jampijinpa subsections, and travels further west. At Mikanji, the storm rained so hard it created a hole in the ground which became a soakage. At Mirawarri a ‘kirrkarlanji’ (brown falcon [Falco berigora]) picked up the storm and carried it on its wings to the west until it became too heavy for it. The falcon eventually dropped the storm at Pirlinyarnu (Mt. Farewell) about 165 km west of Yuendumu, where it formed an enormous ‘maluri’ (claypan). A ‘mulju’ (soakage) exists in this place today.
A third Dreaming track that passes through Mikanji is the story of the water Dreaming and ‘pamapardu Jukurrpa’ (termite Dreaming). This Dreaming travels further north. This water Dreaming is owned by Nakamarra/Napurrurla women and Jakamarra/Jupurrurla men. The termite and water Dreamings travelled together from Warntungurru in the east past Warlura (a waterhole 8 miles east of Yuendumu), Wirnpa, Kanaralji, Ngamangama, and Jukajuka. A portion of this Dreaming track also includes the ‘kurdukurdu mangkurdu Jukurrpa’ (children of the clouds Dreaming). The termite Dreaming moved on to the west to Nyirrpi, a community approximately 160 km west of Yuendumu, whereas the water Dreaming travelled on to Mikanji. A ‘kirrkarlanji’ (brown falcon) eventually picked up the water and tied it to its head using hairstring. The falcon travelled north with the water Dreaming; at Puyurru, it flew under a tree and the water fell off of its head, forming a soakage there. The Dreaming then travelled on through other locations including Yalyarilalku, Mikilyparnta, Katalpi, Lungkardajarra, Jirawarnpa, Kamira, Yurrunjuku, and Jikaya before moving on into Gurindji country to the north.
In contemporary Warlpiri paintings, traditional iconography is used to represent the ‘Jukurrpa’ (Dreaming), associated sites, and other elements. In many paintings of this Dreaming, short dashes are often used to represent ‘mangkurdu’ (cumulus & stratocumulus clouds), and longer, flowing lines represent ‘ngawarra’ (flood waters). Small circles are used to depict ‘mulju’ (soakages) and river beds.