Liddy NAPANANGKA WALKERTopsy NAPANANGKAJudy NAMPITJINPA GRANITES, Wakirlpirri Jukurrpa Enlarge 1 /1

Liddy NAPANANGKA WALKER

Warlpiri people

Mt. Doreen, Lake Mackay, Northern Terrtory, Australia born 1930

Topsy NAPANANGKA

Warlpiri people

Australia born 1924

Judy NAMPITJINPA GRANITES

Warlpiri people

Australia born 1934

Wakirlpirri Jukurrpa [Wanarri Jukurpa (Bean Dreaming)] 1985 Description: Wakirlpirri Jukurrpa (Dogwood Dreaming)
Place made: Yuendumu, Western Desert, Northern Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint on canvas Place Published: Source: Wally Caruana Aboriginal Art Thames and Hudson pp 129-130 Plate 110

Primary Insc: No inscriptions
Dimensions: 124.6 h x 123.8 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1986
Accession No: NGA 86.1799
Image rights: © the artists. Licensed by Viscopy

The modern art history of the Aboriginal community of Yuendumu is different to that of Papunya. In the early 1980s the Warlpiri women of Yuendumu were impressed with the blossoming art movement that was occurring in neighbouring Papunya, and wanted also to secure some financial benefits through the sale of paintings. They painted women’s Dreamings, often associated with the collecting and preparation of bush foods. The women artists did not restrict themselves to using only traditional ochre colours, as did the artists at Papunya at the time, but rather chose to use the entire colour palette in the composition of their paintings.

Three Warlpiri women, Liddy Napanangka Walker, Topsy Napanangka and Judy Nampijinpa Granites, collaborated to paint Wakirlpirri Jukurrpa in 1985. This dynamic painting expresses well the fertile aspects of the land, an element typically found in yawulyu (women’s designs), and depicts the Dogwood Dreaming site. Women collecting and winnowing dogwood seeds are represented by the small U-shapes in the lower centre of the image. The dominant images are three clusters of seed pods. Partially-cooked seeds are washed in parraja (carrying dishes) then ground to a paste for making damper. The collaboration between the artists took place in the customary manner. The kurdungurlu, or the owner of the Dreaming, Walker, painted the most prominent designs with Napanangka, the kirda or custodian of the Dreaming. The youngest artist, Nampijinpa assisted, also as kurdungurlu. 

Franchesca Cubillo


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010

Yuendumu community is best known for the production of large collaborative works involving several artists. Contributors are involved as either owners (kirda) or managers (kurdungurlu). The use of a vivid palette is also an identifying feature of work emanating from Yuendumu. The expression of the narrative is akin to the approach by desert painters generally, where an aerial view of the landscape and the events that took place in ancestral times is expressed through a painted language of signs and icons.

Three Warlpiri women from Yuendumu collaborated to paint Wakirlpirri Jukurrpa. This dynamic painting expresses well the fertile aspects of the land, an element typically found in yawulyu (women’s design), and depicts the Dogwood Dreaming site. Women collecting and winnowing dogwood seeds are represented by the small U-shapes in the lower centre of the image. The dominant images are three clusters of seedpods. Partially cooked seeds are washed in parraja (carrying dish) then ground to a paste for making damper. Owner of the Dreaming, Liddy Napanangka, painted the most prominent designs with Topsy, the kirda of the Dreaming. Younger artist Judy Nampitjinpa assisted as kurdungurlu.

Susan Jenkins


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002