Topsy Fischer Napurrula

Ngapa Tjukurrpa (Water Dreaming) at Puyurru #467

Acrylic on canvas
91 x 76 cm
(35.8 x 29.9 in)

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The site depicted in this painting is Puyurru, west of Yuendumu. In the usually dry creek bed are water soakages or naturally occurring wells.

Two Tjangala men, rainmakers, sang the rain, unleashing 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 and was picked up by a ‘kirrkarlanji’ (brown falcon [Falco Berigora]) 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). The snake carried water with it to create a large lake named Jillyiumpa, close to an outstation in this country.

In contemporary Warlpiri paintings, traditional iconography is used to represent the Tjukurrpa (Dreamtime), associated sites and other elements. In many paintings of this particular Tjukurrpa, curved and straight lines represent the ‘ngawarra’ (flood waters) running through the landscape. Motifs frequently used to depict this story include small circles representing ‘mulju’ (water soakages) and short bars depicting ‘mangkurdu’ (cumulus and stratocumulus clouds).

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