Australian Aboriginal Artists

Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) Puyurru
Synthetic polymer on linen
60 x 24 in (152.40 x 60.96 cm)
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Shorty Jangala Robertson was born in the 1930's at Jila (Chilla Well), a large soakage and claypan north west of Yuendumu. He lived a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle with his parents, older brother and extended Warlpiri family. It is extraordinary that in all Robertson’s travels and jobs throughout his working life, he escaped the flourishing Central Desert art movement of the 1970's and 1980's. Thus, becoming a painter later in life, Shorty's paintings are fresh, vigorous and new. His use of color to paint and interpret his Dreamings was vital and unique, yet upholding the Warlpiri tradition. This artist was an active member of Warlukurlangu Co-operative and lived at Yuendumu with his wife, artist Lady Nungarrayi Robertson, until his passing in 2014. The site depicted in this painting is Puyurru, west of Yuendumu. In the usually dry creek beds are water soakages, or naturally occurring wells. Two Jangala men, rainmakers, sang the rain and unleashed a giant storm. It travelled across the country, with the lightning striking the land. This storm met up with another storm from Wapurtali, to the west, was picked up by a ‘kirrkarlan’ (brown falcon) and carried further west until it dropped the storm at Purlungyanu, where it created a giant soakage. At Puyurru the bird dug up a giant snake, ‘warnayarra’ (the ‘rainbow serpent’) and the snake carried water to create the large lake, Jillyiumpa, close to an outstation in this country. This story belongs to Jangala men and Nangala women. In many paintings of this story, curved and straight lines represent the ‘ngawarra’ (flood waters) running through the landscape. Further motifs frequently used to depict this story include small circles representing ‘mulju’ (water soakages) and short bars depicting ‘mangkurdu’ (cumulus & stratocumulus clouds).
Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) Puyurru by Australian Aboriginal Artists
Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming) Puyurru by Australian Aboriginal Artists

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