Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming)

Juliette Nampijinpa Brown

Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming)


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 siƫng 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 porƟon 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 ofYuendumu, 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.


Size 107 x 46 cm Framed