Jungunpa (Marsupial Mouse) Dreaming, 1998
The Marsupial Mouse or Jungunpa, as it is known to the Warlpiri, is a small nocturnal mammal that lives in underground burrows, only surfacing at night to feed. It is widely sought after by Aboriginal people as a food item. One of the main sites associated with the Jungunpa Dreaming is the artist’s birthplace, Mount Doreen, west of Yuendumu and approximately 350 km north-west of Alice Springs.
In this painting Polly’s aerial perspective of the countryside reflects the full diversity of the surrounding landscape - rocky outcrops, spinifex grass and wild flowers. The myriad of dots gives the impression of looking into the galaxy, uniting both the earth and the sky. The concentric circles depict the underground burrows and the meandering lines represent tracks taken by the marsupial mouse as it comes out at night to feed.
The custodians of this Dreaming and site are women of the Napangardi/Napanangka skin group (aunt/niece). Still today the aunts (father’s sisters) instruct the young women in cultural/ceremonial knowledge in strict accordance with traditional law.
Polly emerged as a significant painter very early in her painting career, which began in 1987. She has been represented in major international exhibitions since 1990 with her works acquired by public and private collections around the world.