Steven Jupurrurla Nelson, Janganpa Jukurrpa- Mawurrji - Brush-tail Possum Dreaming 4616/17
Acrylic on linen
Steven began painting at in late 2014 after working at the art centre for some time. He typically paints ‘janganpa Jukurrpa’ (brush-tail possum Dreaming). His country is located near Nyirrpi, another remote Aboriginal community approximately 170 kilometers west of Yuendumu. His mother’s and grandfather’s country is also in this area. His mother’s country includes the Nginyirrpalangu outstation. His grandfather, Banjo Patterson, owned country that includes Ngarupalya. He was a featured artist on the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) in 2017 in recognition of his flourishing career as an important emerging artist.
Janganpa Jukurrpa (common brush-tail possum [Trichosurus vulpecula] Dreaming) travels all over Warlpiri country. 'Janganpa' are nocturnal animals that often nest in the hollows of white gum trees ('wapunungka'). This story comes from a big hill called Mawurrji, west of Yuendumu and north of Pikilyi (Vaughan Springs). A group of 'janganpa' ancestors resided there. Every night they would go out in search of food. Their hunting trips took them to Wirlki and Wanapirdi, where they found 'pamapardu' (flying ants). They journeyed on to Ngarlkirdipini looking for water. A Nampijinpa women was living at Mawurrji with her two daughters. She gave her daughters in marriage to a Jupurrurla 'janganpa' but later decided to run away with them. The Jupurrurla angrily pursued the woman. He tracked them to Mawurrji where he killed them with a stone axe. Their bodies are now rocks at this place. Warlpiri people perform a young men's initiation ceremony, which involves the Janganpa Jukurrpa. The Janganpa Jukurrpa belongs to Jakamarra/Jupurrurla men and Nakamarra/Napurrurla women. In Warlpiri paintings traditional iconography is used to represent this Jukurrpa. 'Janganpa' tracks are often represented as 'E' shaped figures and concentric circles are used to depict the trees in which the 'Janganpa' live, and also the sites at Mawurrji.