Jorna Nelson Napurrula

Janganpa (Possum) Dreaming #153

Acrylic on canvas
182 x 244 cm
(71.7 x 96.1 in)


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Tjupurrula and Tjakamarra men and Napurrula and Nakamarra women are the 'kurdungurlu' (ceremonial custodians) of the Janganpa (common brush tail possum or trichosurus vulpecula) Dreaming. 'Janganpa' are noturnal animals that often nest in the hollows of white gum trees (wapunungka) A common 'janganpa' story is about a 'janganpa' ancestor who travelled all over the Warlpiri lands, visiting various sites during the Dreamtime including one site called Jangankurlangu, meaning literally, 'belonging to the possum'.

The 'janganpa' men carry their hunting weapons as they move around the country, wearing 'majardi (hair string skirts) 'Janganpa' were once frequently found across mucyh of the Warlpiri and neighboring country but have become exitinct in recent years. It is speculated that this extinction may be due to feral cat predation and the changes to their habitat caused by the introduction of cattle and other feral animals. The 'janganpa' is considered good meat for 'yapa' (Warlpiri people). In traditional Warlpiri iconcography wavy lines and "E" shapes are used to depict the tracks that the 'jananpa' left as he moved around.

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