Trichosurus vulpecula


Cat#: 10336
Janganpa Jukurrpa Steven Nelson (common brush-tail possum [Trichosurus vulpecula] Dreaming)
46 x 46 cm

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.
Steven Nelson has developed his own characteristic style in the
depiction of the Jukurrpa, he is not using traditional iconography, his
abstract representation of his dreaming is an exploration of the
relationship of colour and form to depict the landscape and the
story associated to his Jukurrpa.