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Sarah-Jane Nampijinpa Singleton / Emu Dreaming – Ngarlikirlangu (4962-21)
61cm x 30cm Acrylic on CanvasView more from artist
61cm x 30cm Acrylic on Canvas
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Artwork is accompanied by Warlukurlangu Artists (Yuendumu) Art Centre Certificate of Authenticity/Provenance
Sarah-Jane Nampijinpa Singleton was born in 1984, in Alice Springs Hospital, the closest hospital to Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community located 290 km north-west of Alice Springs in NT of Australia. She is the daughter of Glorine Nungarrayi Martin and the granddaughter of Samson Japaljarri Martin (one of the founding members of Warlukurlangu Artists) and Uni Nampijinpa Martin, both renowned artists. Sarah-Jane grew up in Yuendumu. She attended the local primary school before going to Yirara College, in Alice Springs, a boarding school for Indigenous students.
Sarah-Jane has been painting with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu since 1999. From an early age, she attended the Art Centre with her mother and her extended family, watching, learning and listening to her family’s stories. She mainly paints her father’s Yankirri Jukurrpa – Ngarikurlangu (Emu Dreaming) and her Grandfather’ Walawurra Jukurrpa (Eagle Dreaming). These stories relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. They have been passed down to her by her parents and their parents before them for millennial. Sarah-Jane loves dot painting and working with colour and uses an unrestricted palette to depict her traditional iconography, at the same time developing a modern individualist style, using pattern and design in a variety of contexts.
Sarah-Jane is married and has three children. When she is not painting, she is at home caring for her children.
This painting depicts a ‘yankirri Jukurrpa’ (Emu Dreaming) from a place called Ngarlikurlangu, approximately 50kms north of Yuendumu. The ‘kirda’ (owners) of this Dreaming are Nangala/Nampijinpa women and Jangala/Jampijinpa men.
This Jukurrpa tells the story of a ‘yankirri’ (emu) and a ‘wardilyka’ (bush turkey). ‘Yankirri’ lived at a soakage to the west called Warnirripanu (or Walangkamirirri), while ‘wardilyka’ lived at a soakage to the east called Parirri. The emu and bush turkey used to go around the country picking ‘yakajirri’ (bush raisins) and mashing them into ‘kapurdu’ (fruit balls) to save in their nests for later. However, they were jealous of each other; the emu thought that the bush turkey was picking the best and juiciest ‘yakajirri’, and was leaving him with only the sour ‘yakajirri’.
The emu went to the bush turkey’s nest to the east while the bush turkey was out hunting and smashed up the ‘kapurdu’ that the bush turkey had saved there. When the bush turkey returned, he found his smashed ‘yakajirri’ balls and realized that the emu had destroyed them. He went to the west to confront the emu and when he found him, they got into a big fight. The bush turkey eventually flew away to the north, leaving behind the smashed ‘yakajirri’ balls.
This practice of making ‘kapurdu’ (fruit balls) is a traditional Warlpiri method of storing ‘yakajirri’; in the old days, people used to dry the ‘yakajirri’, grind them up with a rock in a coolamon, mix them with water and form balls from them, and cover the ‘kapurdu’ with red ochre so they would keep.
Today at Ngarlikirlangu we can see round, red rocks which are the ‘kapurdu’ that the emu smashed up. There is also a dance for this ‘yankirri’ (emu) Jukurrpa that is performed during mens’ initiation ceremonies. A number of other Jukurrpa are also located at Ngarlikirlangu, including ‘wardilyka Jukurrpa’ (bush turkey Dreaming), ‘yardijiinypa Jukurrpa’ (meat ant Dreaming), and ‘pirntina Jukurrpa’ (woma or Ramsay’s python Dreaming). Lots of ‘yakajirri’ grow around the Ngarlikirlangu area today.
In contemporary Warlpiri paintings, traditional iconography can be used to represent the Jukurrpa, associated sites, and other elements. ‘Yankirri’ are usually represented by arrow-like shapes depicting their ‘wirliya’ (footprints) as they walk around.
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