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Athena Nangala Granites / Star Dreaming (Lay-by Final)
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Ochre / Kimberley artworks are shipped on canvas or linen, already stretched, ready to hang unless stated otherwise.
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Artwork is accompanied by Warlukurlangu Artists (Yuendumu) Art Centre Certificate of Authenticity/Provenance
“I learnt to paint by watching my mother, my sisters and my grandmother paint.”
Athena Nangala Granites was born in 1994 in Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community 290km from Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia. She has lived most of her life in Yuendumu, attending the local school and graduating from Senior Girls Upper School in 2009.
Since leaving school she has gained work experience working in the office at Mt Theo, a program that provides comprehensive training in youth development and leadership. She has also married Sebastian Jupurrurla Wilson and they have one son, “little Henry Peterson Wilson”. Athena enjoys being Mum to little Henry.
Although young, Athena comes from a long line of artists. She is the daughter of Geraldine Napangardi Granites and the grand-daughter of Alma Nungarrayi Granites, well-known artists who paint with Warlukurlangu Artists. She is also the great grand-daughter of Paddy Japaljarri Sims (Deceased) one of the founding artists of Warlukurlangu Artists. Athena has been painting with Warlukurlangu Artists since 2010. She paints Jukurrpa from her father’s side (Ngapa Jukurrpa – Water Dreaming) and her mother’s side (Ngalyipi Jukurrpa – Snake Vine Dreaming and Yanjirlpirri Jukurrpa – Seven Sisters Dreaming), stories which relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. Athena uses an unrestricted palette to develop a modern interpretation of her traditional culture.
When Athena is not painting and when the rain comes and it is cooler she likes to go hunting with her family for Honey Ants, Bush Banana, Goanna and Kangaroo.
The country in this painting is Yanjirlpiri, a small hill to the west of Yuendumu. Yanjirlpiri has a number of water soakages, including Pulpa and Lungkukurra, and ‘rockholes, including Walka, Ngarnamirdi, Jangarnka, and Warnapirri. The name ‘yanjirlpiri’ means ‘star’ in Warlpiri.
The importance of this place cannot be overemphasized, as young boys are brought here to be initiated from as far away as Pitjantjatjara country to the south and from Lajamanu to the north. This Dreaming site is part of a set of major Dreaming tracks that begin in the north at Kurlungalinpa and travel southward through Purrpalala, Ngarlpiyi (a soakage), Pangka (a soakage), Rlipinpa (a soakage), Purlkurru (a soakage), Warnirripatu (rockholes), Yirrinpi (a soakage), Manjankurrku (a soakage), and Kunajarrayi to Yanjirlpiri. The Dreamings then move further west to Lappi Lappi and Yininti-walku-walku, near Lake Mackay by the West Australian border. These Dreamings include Womens’ Dreaming, Snakevine Dreaming, Ceremonial Pole Dreaming and Two Men Dreaming). Yanjirlpiri is also important due to its association with a major Brush-Tailed Possum Dreaming. Much of the ceremonial knowledge surrounding Yanjirlpiri is protected.
This painting tells of the journey of Japaljarri and Jungarrayi men who travelled from Kurlungalinpa (near Lajamanu) to Yanjirlpiri, and then on to Lake Mackay on the West Australian border. Along the way they performed ‘kurdiji’ (initiation ceremonies) for young men. Napaljarri and Nungarrayi women also danced for the ‘kurdiji.’ In contemporary Warlpiri paintings traditional iconography is used to represent the Dreaming, particular sites and other elements. During the performance of this ceremony the men wear ‘jinjirla’ (white feather headdresses) on either side of their heads. They also wear wooden carvings of stars which are also laid out on the ground as part of the sand paintings produced for business. ‘Ngalyipi’ (snake vine), is often depicted as long curved lines and is used to tie ‘witi’ (ceremonial spears) vertically to the shins of the dancing initiates. These ‘witi’ are typically shown as long straight lines and the ‘yanjirlpiri’ (stars) are usually depicted as white circles or roundels
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