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Rosie Nangala Flemming / Water Dreaming

46cm x 46cm Acrylic on Canvas

SKU: 1166-08


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SKU: 1166-08 Category:

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

Rosie Nangala Fleming was born around 1928, at the time when many Warlpiri and other Central and Western Desert Peoples were living a traditional nomadic life. With her family she travelled around the country in the traditional way, visiting sacred sites and learning about her ancestors, her creation stories and her country. She and her late husband came from their ancestral country to live in Yuendumu when it began as a settlement sometime in the late 1940’s.

As a young woman, Rosie Nangala began working for Mrs Fleming, a Baptist missionary who assisted her in establishing a Warlpiri Women’s museum at Yuendumu in the late 1970’s, as a keeping place for ceremonial objects and a centre for women to meet. Rosie became president of the museum and administered it for many years. Rosie Nangala made artifacts, seed necklaces and mats for a number of years and when Warlukurlangu Artists was established in 1985, Rosie was one of the first women to paint with acrylic on canvas. She paints her mother’s and her father’s Jukurrpa stories, stories which relate directly to her land, its features and animals. These stories were passed down to her by her father and mother and their parents before them for millennia. Her Dreamings are ngapa (water) from her mother’s side; and warlukurlangu (fire) and Yankirri (emu) from her father’s side.

Every weekday Rosie goes to the art centre, sits with her friends and paints. She still likes to go hunting when she can.


The country associated with this Ngapa Jukurrpa (water Dreaming) is Mikanji, a watercourse that is usually dry, west of Yuendumu. In this creek bed there are ‘mulju’ (soakages). The custodians of this Jukurrpa are men of the Jangala/Jampijinpa skin groups, and women of the Nangala/Nampijinpa skin groups. The Dreaming travelled from Puyurru, northwest of Yuendumu to a ‘mulju’ in the Mikanji creek. By the side of the soakages two old blind women of the Nampijinpa skin group were sitting. A rain ancestor travelled to Mikanji from Puyurru and unleashed a huge storm. 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. Motifs frequently used to depict this story include concentric circles representing ‘mulju’ (water soakages) and short bars depicting ‘mangkurdu’ (cumulus & stratocumulus clouds).

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