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Melinda Napurrurla Wilson / Brush-tail Possum Dreaming – Mawurrji (1A)

46cm x 46cm Acrylic on Canvas


SKU: 5664-18


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SKU: 5664-18 Category: Brand: . Artist:

Artwork is accompanied by Warlukurlangu Artists (Yuendumu) Art Centre Certificate of Authenticity/Provenance

Melinda Napurrurla Wilson was born in 1988 in Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community 290 km north-west of Alice Springs in the NT of Australia. At the time, her parents were living in Lajamanu, an Aboriginal community in semi-arid country on the edge of the Tanami Desert, halfway between Darwin and Alice Springs – 592 km from Yuendumu. She attended the local Lajamanu School and when she finished school she worked for the Outback Store and then the Mental Health Program. After her mother died she moved to Yuendumu with her father Brian Wilson, to be close to her Grandma, Maisie Napurrurla Wayne, also a Warlukurlangu artist.

Melinda has been painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, since 2004. She paints her grandmother’s Lukarrara Jukurrpa (Desert fringe-rush seed Dreaming), stories that were passed down to her by her parents and their parents before them for millennia. Melinda began using traditional iconography in her paintings but because of her love for pattern and colour she has developed an individualist style using pattern and design in a variety of contexts to depict her traditional jukurrpa—“I love painting with patterns”.

Melinda is married to Steven Jangala Hargraves and they have three children. When she is not painting she sometimes goes bush, hunting with her family – “We take kangaroo tail and eat when out there.”

Janganpa Jukurrpa (common brush-tail possum 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.

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