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Janganpa Jukurrpa (Brush-tail Possum Dreaming) - Mawurrji

Artist: Jorna Napurrurla Nelson

Region: Yuendumu, NT

Medium/Type: Painting

Size: 46 x 61 cm
(Artwork can be rotated)

Catalogue Number: 11142JN

Status: SOLD


Janganpa Jukurrpa, the Common Brush-tail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) 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.

Jorna Nelson is the half sister of artist and senior law woman Peggy Poulson Napurrurla. In later life she married Paddy Lewis Japanangka, the father of Dorothy Napangardi.


Jorna Napurrurla Nelson

Region: Yuendumu, NT

Jorna painted her mother and father’s Jukurrpa stories and Dreamings which relate directly to her country. These stories, as was the tradition were passed down to her by her parents and their parents before them for millennia. Her paintings were generally stories about sacred sites, animals and plants to be found in Country…

More about Jorna Napurrurla Nelson

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