Margaret Nangala Gallager
Acryl on Linen
107 x 76 cm
This painting depicts a ‘yankirri Jukurrpa’ (emu [Dromaius
novaehollandiae] Dreaming) from a place called
Ngarlikurlangu, approximately 50 kms north of Yuendumu. The
‘kirda’ (owners) of this Dreaming are Nangala/Nampijinpa
women and Jangala/Jampijinpa men.
This Jukurrpa tells the story of a ‘yankirri’ (emu) and a
‘wardilyka’ (bush turkey [Ardeotis australis]). ‘Yankirri’ lived at a
soakage to the west called Warnirripanu (or Walangkamirirri),
while ‘wardilyka’ lived at a soakage to the east called Parirri.
The emu and bush turkey used to go around the country picking
‘yakajirri’ (bush raisins [Solanum centrale]) and mashing them
into ‘kapurdu’ (fruit balls) to save in their nests for later.
However, they were jealous of each other; the emu thought that
the bush turkey was picking the best and juiciest ‘yakajirri’, and
was leaving him with only the sour ‘yakajirri’.
The emu went to the bush turkey’s nest to the east while the
bush turkey was out hunting and smashed up the ‘kapurdu’ that
the bush turkey had saved there. When the bush turkey
returned, he found his smashed ‘yakajirri’ balls and realized
that the emu had destroyed them. He went to the west to
confront the emu and when he found him, they got into a big
fight. The bush turkey eventually flew away to the north, leaving
behind the smashed ‘yakajirri’ balls.
This practice of making ‘kapurdu’ (fruit balls) is a tradi onal
Warlpiri method of storing ‘yakajirri’; in the old days, people
used to dry the ‘yakajirri’, grind them up with a rock in a
coolamon, mix them with water and form balls from them, and
cover the ‘kapurdu’ with red ochre so they would keep.
Today at Ngarlikirlangu we can see round, red rocks which are
the ‘kapurdu’ that the emu smashed up. There is also a dance
for this ‘yankirri’ (emu) Jukurrpa that is performed during mens’
ini a on ceremonies. A number of other Jukurrpa are also
located at Ngarlikirlangu, including ‘wardilyka Jukurrpa’ (bush
turkey Dreaming), ‘yardijiinypa Jukurrpa’ (meat ant Dreaming),
and ‘pirn na Jukurrpa’ (woma or Ramsay’s python [Aspidites
ramsayi] Dreaming). Lots of ‘yakajirri’ grow around the
Ngarlikirlangu area today.