Title: Janganpa Jukurrpa (Brush-tail Possum Dreaming) - Mawurrji
Ritasha Nampijinpa Watson - Janganpa Jukurrpa (Brush-tail Possum Dreaming) - Mawurrji - 5057/19
Artist: Ritasha Nampijinpa Watson
Cat No: 5057/19
Size: 30 x 30 cm
Acrylic on Canvas, Stretched
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.
Ritasha Nampilinpa Watson is the daughter of Andrea Nungarrayi Martin, distinguished artist and long time art coordinator at Warlukurlangu Artists. Although still very young she has been painting and exhibiting for a long time alongside her mother. She is married to Michael Japaljarri Wayne and they have one son, Johnny.
Ritasha was born in Alice Springs and has spent her whole life in Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community 290 km north-west of Alice Springs. She attended the local school and when she finished her schooling she worked with the local Youth Program ‘Jaru Pijirdi’ helping to prevent petrol sniffing in the community. At the moment Ritasha is taking time off to look after her young son and to paint full time at the art centre.
Ritasha first started painting on little boards through the art centre’s school cultural maintenance program held during school holidays. She has been painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, since 2001 and has been exhibiting in Group Exhibitions in Australia, England and USA, since 2005.
Ritasha paints her Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) stories, Dreamings which relate to Pirlinyarnu country. These stories were passed down to her by her mother and her mother’s mother and their parents before them for millennia.
When Ritasha is not painting she likes to sit with her friends and their children telling stories about their country.