Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) - Puyurru by Shorty Jangala Robertson


Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) - Puyurru by Shorty Jangala Robertson


Shorty Jangala Robertson   c.1925 d. 2014

76 x 76cm

Acrylic on canvas

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Araluen Cultural Precinct, Alice Springs
Artbank, Sydney
Flinders University Art Museum, Adelaide
Gordon Darling Foundation, Canberra

Image ©Shorty Jangala Robertson

Copyright of the artwork and text remains with the artist and Aboriginal traditional owners, is administered on their behalf and reproduced here with permission from Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation.


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The site depicted in this painting is Puyurru, west of Yuendumu. In the usually dry creek beds are water soakages or naturally occurring wells. Two Jangala me, rainmakers, sang the rain, unleashing a giant storm. It travelled across the country, with lightning striking the land. This storm met up with another storm from Wapurtali, to the west, was picked up by a 'kirrkarlan' (brown falcon or Falco berigora) and carried further west until it dropped the storm at Purlungyanu, where it created a giant soakge. At Puyurru the bird dug up a giant snake, 'warnayarra' ('the rainbow serpent') and the snake carried water to create the large lake, Jilllyiumpa, close to an outstation in this country.

This story belongs to Jangala men and Nangala women. In contemporary Warlpiri paintings traditional iconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa, associated dites and other elements. In many paintings of this Jukurrpa curved and straight lines represent the 'ngawarra' (flood waters) running through the landscape. Motifs frequently used to depict this story include small circles representing 'mulju' (water soakages) and short bars depicting 'mangkurdu' (cumulus & stratocumulus clouds)