Ngalyipi Jukurrpa (Hairstring Belt), 2003
This painting Ngalyipi Jukurrpa by Dorothy Napangardi is about the Snake Vine (Tinospora smilacina). The site of origin for the Jukurrpa is Mina Mina, located near Lake Mackay north-west of Yuendumu in the Tanami Desert, Northern Territory. lt was here that the women, their bodies painted with the ritualistic designs, began to sing their world into existence.
As they travel across the landscape, they stopped to dance and sing, gather and prepare food, to collect water and produce the traditional objects such as wooden bush bowls (paraja) and bush rope (ngalyipi) from Snake Vine….. at Yarlkurdu they made ngalyipi a twine that has both ceremonial and utilitarian use. During the initiation ceremonies ritualistic object must be held fast to the young initiates legs and this is done with ngalyipi. It is used to make carrying straps for the wooden bush bowls that are used to carry every thing from bush foods to babies.
All the Napangardi ‘sisters’ and all their aunties, Napanangka have the responsibilities of Karntakurlangu (Belonging to Women), Ngalyipi (Snake Vine), used as a tourniquet for bites and to tie feathers and branches to legs and arms in ceremonies; Kurrkara (Dogwood) and Desert Oak trees, often in her descriptions as Kanakurlangu (ceremonial digging sticks ‘karlangu’). These digging sticks are important tools and also used in women’s business ceremonies. A large belt of desert oak trees (Allocasuarina decaisneana) now stand where these digging sticks once were.
Source: Honouring and Remembering the Art and Life of Dorothy Napangardi, 1987-2013
One of the leading artists of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement, Napangardi’s work is highly sought after by both collectors and curators worldwide. Her paintings and prints have been widely exhibited and are in all national collections within Australia and in major collections worldwide including most recently the MET, New York. Napangardi had the honour of being the 2nd indigenous artist to be given a solo survey exhibition at the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), Sydney that traced 11 years of her painting career in 1991.