Wardapi Jukurrpa (Goanna Dreaming) – Yarripurlangu

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Artist Ruth Nungarrayi Spencer
Title Wardapi Jukurrpa (Goanna Dreaming) – Yarripurlangu
Painting size 107 x 46 cm
Acrylic on Belgian linen



This Wardapi Jukurrpa (goanna [Varanus gouldii] Dreaming) comes from Yarripilangku, south-west of Yuendumu. It tells the story of a group of Karnta (Warlpiri women) that were si􏰀tting down in a circle. A man from Mt. Theo, of the Japangardi skin group named Wamaru, came up to the women. He wanted to take a girl of the wrong skin, a Nungarrayi. He took the Nungarrayi woman, named Yurlkurinyi, and went up the hill where they made love. Then the earth turned to Ngunjungunju (yellow and white ochre) and the man turned himself and all the ‘karnta’ (women) into ‘wardapi’ (goannas). The ochre is s􏰁till found on top of the hill and is used today for love magic and for ceremonial decoration. This Jukurrpa belongs to the Napaljarri/Japaljarri and Nungarrayi/Jungarrayi subsecti􏰁ons. It also belongs to people from Mt Theo of the Japanangka/Napanangka, Japangardi/Napangardi subsecti􏰁ons. In paintin􏰁gs of this Jukurrpa, the group of women is o􏰂ften represented by concentric circles and ‘U’ shapes typically are used to represent women. Concentric circles can also illustrate ‘wardapi’ holes and the droppings they leave while ‘wardapi’ tracks are usually represented by ‘W’ shapes.