Pirlinyanu Dreaming, 2009
This bold monochromatic work is enhanced by its size. With the three strong lines that traverse the canvas, the artist has painted ‘Country’ that can be hung and viewed in either vertical or landscape mode.
The painting can be interpreted as the river running across country or viewed horizontally as the layers under the surface. The black spots scattered through the painting are the waterholes where the rainfall collects.
Julie depicts her Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming), which is associated with her father’s traditional country of Pirlinyanu, a rocky outcrop in the Tanami Desert, west of Yuendumu and towards the WA border.
This rocky country with its significant waterholes and plentiful bush tucker is one of many significant locations for the Water Dreaming because if you know which rocks to move you always have access to fresh water in the deep natural occurring wells of Pirlinyanu. Without this knowledge one could imagine there was no water in this desert landscape. Ownership of country is passed down from the father (patrilineal) and ritual knowledge is passed on from auntie to niece (father’s sisters). In this case it is those of the Nampijinpa and Nangala sub-section groups.
This painting by Julie shows the extraordinary optical brilliance as she dots her way across the canvas (country) leaving/creating specific shapes as reference points.