Ruth Nungarrayi Spencer, Wardapi Jukurrpa, (Goanna Dreaming) (1530-17)
Acrylic on Linen
This Wardapi Jukurrpa (goanna [Varanus gouldii] Dreaming) comes from Yarripilangku, south-west of Yuendumu. It tells the story of a group of Karnta (Warlpiri women) that were sitting down in a circle. A man from Mt. Theo, of the Japangardi skin group named Wamaru, came up to the women. He wanted to take a girl of the wrong skin, a Nungarrayi. He took the Nungarrayi woman, named Yurlkurinyi, and went up the hill where they made love. Then the earth turned to Ngunjungunju (yellow and white ochre) and the man turned himself and all the ‘karnta’ (women) into ‘wardapi’ (goannas). The ochre is still found on top of the hill and is used today for love magic and for ceremonial decoration. This Jukurrpa belongs to the Napaljarri/Japaljarri and Nungarrayi/Jungarrayi subsections. It also belongs to people from Mt Theo of the Japanangka/Napanangka, Japangardi/Napangardi subsections. In paintings of this Jukurrpa, the group of women is often represented by concentric circles and ‘U’ shapes typically are used to represent women. Concentric circles can also illustrate ‘wardapi’ holes and the droppings they leave while ‘wardapi’ tracks are usually represented by ‘W’ shapes.