Jukurrpa is our lore
the rules and protocols established in the dreamtime by our ancestral beings who created the world. It is everything to us. It is our way of living, our identity and our culture. Jukurrpa is essentially a roadmap that determines our relationships to places, people, animals, the environment and the universe.Here we have our skin names, dreamings and sacred connections to country. It outlines respectable protocols and how to appropriately interact with existence. The passing down of Jukurrpa keeps us strong: it provides us with a stable sense of belonging. It is storytelling. It is a holistic approach to life. It is powerful. If we didn’t have Jukurrpa, there would be nothing.
Malikijarra Jukurrpa (Two Dogs Dreaming)
This painting depicts ‘malikijarra Jukurrpa’ (two dogs Dreaming). The ‘kirda’ (owners) of this Dreaming are Nampijinpa/Nangala women and Jampijinpa/Jangala men.
This Dreaming comes from country adjacent to the windmill at Warlarla (Rabbit Flat). This site is part of a long Dreaming track that stretches from Yarrajalpa in the extreme west of Warlpiri country to Warlaku (Ali Curung) in the east. In this Dreaming story, two dog ancestors, a Jampijinpa and a Napangardi, traveled from the west to the east. They began at Yarrajalpa (a waterhole) and traveled through Wirninginpa, Jinarli, Karljawarnu (a rockhole), Jilwirrpa, and Waanjurna (a rockhole). They dug holes in the ground and created ‘warnirri’ (rockholes) and ‘ngapa’ (waterholes) as they went.
At Tapu (a rockhole), the two dogs separated. The female dog, Napangardi, went to the south towards Ngamarnawarnu. The male dog, Jampijinpa, went to the north through Mukirri and Paruwu. Eventually, he became lonely and howled for Napangardi in the south. She came running to him, and they married each other at Ngarnka. They wore men’s and women’s marriage headdresses, and Jampijinpa painted himself with white clay for the ceremony. After the wedding, they continued on slowly to the east through Kurduwijawija, Warlarla (Rabbit Flat), and Yurlpuwarnu (rockholes). At Yurlpuwarnu they started a fire using a ‘jimanypa’ (stick), a spear-thrower, and ‘yinirn ’ (bat-wing coral tree [Erythrina vesper lio]) wood for firewood. The dogs then continued east through Kulpurlunu (a waterhole) and Ngumurlungu, where they encountered some other dogs. However, these dogs sent them away while they performed a sacred ceremony.
The two dogs continued running east, past Jarramarda and Yankirrikirlangu, before arriving in Warlaku (Ali Curung). Many other dogs were living in Warlaku when they arrived. There were many families of dogs, mothers and fathers and children and uncles all living together. Jampijinpa and Napangardi made a burrow to rest in and started a big family of dogs there. They chose to stay in Warlaku and live with all the other dogs. In this way, the ‘malikijarra Jukurrpa’ (two dogs Dreaming) tells the story of proper conduct in families and marriages.
In Warlpiri paintings, traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa and other elements. The ribcages of the Jampijinpa, Napangardi, and their family of dogs are depicted in this work. Their ribs can also be seen as features in the landscape in the Yankirrikirlangu area. Concentric circles are used to represent the ‘ngapa’ (waterholes) around Yankirrikirlangu.
Lukarrara Jukurrpa (Desert Fringe-rush Seed Dreaming)
This Jukurrpa belongs to women of the Nakamarra/Napurrurla subsections and to Jakamarra/Jupurrurla men. This Dreaming is associated with a place called Jaralypari, north of Yuendumu. Lukarrara (desert fringe-rush [Fimbristylis oxystachya & Fimbristylis eremophila]) is a grass with an edible seed. The seeds are traditionally ground on a large stone (‘nga nyanu’) with a smaller stone (‘ngalikirri’) to make flour. This flour is mixed with water (‘ngapa’) to make damper cakes which are cooked and eaten. In Warlpiri traditional paintings iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa, particular sites and other elements. Large concentric circles o en represent the site of Jaralypari and also the seed-bearing grass Lukurrara. ‘U’ shapes can depict the Karnta (women) collecting ‘lukarrara’ and straight lines are frequently used to portray seeds that fall down to the ground and are also collected by women using their ‘parrajas’ (wooden food carriers) and ‘karlangu’ (digging sticks).
Janganpa Jukurrpa (Common brush-tail possum Dreaming)
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.
Steven Nelson has developed his own characteristic style in the depiction of the Jukurrpa, he is not using traditional iconography, his abstract representation of his dreaming is an exploration of the relationship of colour and form to depict the landscape and the story associated to his Jukurrpa.
Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) - Puyurru
The site depicted in this painting is Puyurru, west of Yuendumu. In the usually dry creek beds are ‘mulju’ (soakages), or naturally occurring wells. The 'kirda' (owners) for this site are Nangala/Nampijinpa women and Jangala/Jampijinpa men. Two Jangala men, rainmakers, sang the rain, unleashing a giant storm. The storm travelled across the country from the east to the west, initially travelling with a ‘pamapardu Jukurrpa’ (termite Dreaming) from Warntungurru to Warlura, a waterhole 8 miles east of Yuendumu. At Warlura, a gecko called Yumariyumari blew the storm on to Lapurrukurra and Wilpiri. Bolts of lightning shot out at Wirnpa (also called Mardinymardinypa) and at Kanaralji. At this point the Dreaming track also includes the ‘kurdukurdu mangkurdu Jukurrpa’ (children of the clouds Dreaming). The water Dreaming built hills at Ngamangama using baby clouds and also stuck long pointy clouds into the ground at Jukajuka, where they can still be seen today as rock formations.
The termite Dreaming eventually continued west to Nyirripi, a community approximately 160 km west of Yuendumu.
The water Dreaming then travelled from the south over Mikanji, a watercourse with soakages northwest of Yuendumu. At Mikanji, the storm was picked up by a ‘kirrkarlanji’ (brown falcon [Falco berigora]) and taken farther north. At Puyurru, the falcon dug up a giant ‘warnayarra’ (rainbow serpent). The serpent carried water with it to create another large lake, Jillyiumpa, close to an outstation in this country. The ‘kirda’ (owners) of this story are Jangala men and Nangala women. After stopping at Puyurru, the water Dreaming 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). Short dashes are o en 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 bed.
Mina Mina (Mina Mina Dreaming) - Ngalyipi
This ‘Jukurrpa’ (Dreaming) comes from Mina Mina, a very important women’s Dreaming site far to the west ofYuendumu near Lake Mackay and the WA border. The ‘kirda’ (owners) of this Dreaming are Napangardi/Napanangka women and Japangardi/Japanangka men; the area is sacred to Napangardi and Napanangka women. There are a number of ‘mulju’ (water soakages) and a ‘maluri’ (clay pan) at MinaMina. In the Dreamtime, ancestral women danced at Mina Mina and ‘karlangu’ (digging sticks) rose up out of the ground. The women collected the digging sticks and then travelled on to the east, dancing, digging for bush tucker, collecting ‘ngalyipi’ (snake vine [Tinospora smilacina]), and creating many places as they went. ‘Ngalyipi’ is a rope-like creeper that grows up the trunks and limbs of trees, including ‘kurrkara’ (desert oak [Allocasuarina decaisneana]). It is used as a ceremonial wrap and as a strap to carry ‘parraja’(coolamons) and ‘ngami’ (water carriers). ‘Ngalyipi’ is also used to the around the forehead to cure headaches, and cuts.The women stopped at Karntakurlangu, Janyinki, Parapurnta and Kimayi, sites spanning from the west to the east of Yuendumu. When they stopped, the women dug for bush foods like ‘jintiparnta’ (desert truffle [Elderia arenivaga]). The Dreaming track eventually took them far beyond Warlpiri country. The track passed through Coniston in Anmatyerre country to the east, and then went on to Alcoota and Aileron far to the northeast of Yuendumu and eventually on into Queensland.
In Warlpiri paintings, traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa and other elements. In many paintings of this Jukurrpa, sinuous lines are used to represent the ‘ngalyipi’ (snake vine). Concentric circles are often used to represent the ‘jintiparnta’ (desert truffles) that the women have collected, while straight lines can be used to depict the ‘karlangu’ (digging sticks).