Chantelle Nampijinpa Robertson - Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) - Puyurru - 669/20
Artist: Chantelle Nampijinpa Robertson
Title: Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) - Puyurru
Cat No: 669/20
Size: 107 x 107 cm
Acrylic on Canvas, Stretched
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 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 bed.
Chantelle Nampijinpa Robertson was born in 1996 in Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community 290 km north-west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia. She began her education at Worawa Aboriginal College, an indigenous girls boarding school in Melbourne and finished her schooling at Yuendumu High School in 2010. Although young, Chantelle comes from a long line of artists. She is the daughter of Justinna Napaljarri Sims and Marshall Jangala Robertson, who paint with Warlukurlangu Artists and is the great grand-daughter of Paddy Japaljarri Sims (Dec) one of the founding artists of Warlukurlangu Artists. Chantelle has been painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, since 2008. She paints her father’s Jukurrpa, stories which relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. These stories were passed down to her by her father and his father for generations. Chantelle particularly likes Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming). “I like the water dreamings, the patterns and the nice colours.” When she is not painting she likes to watch movies with her friends and “my little brothers, Marshall and Alonzo Robertson”.