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Judy Napangardi Watson


Mina Mina Dreaming, c.2010 | 90h x 30w | RK444

Not stretched or framed  |  Acrylic on linen

Judy Watson Napangardi (1935 - 2016) was born around 1935 at Yarungkanji, Mt. Doreen Station, at the time when many Warlpiri and other Central and Western Desert People were living traditional nomadic lives. With her family, Judy made many trips on foot back to (and lived for long periods at) Mina Mina and Yingipurlangu, her ancestral country on the border of the Tanami and Gibson Deserts. These places are rich in bush tucker such as wanakiji (bush plums), yakajirri (bush tomatoes), and wardapi (sand goanna). Most of her works depict Mina Mina or Dreamings connected to it: Karnta (Women), Karlangu (Digging Stick), Ngalyipi (Snake Vine), Yunkaranyi (Honey Ant), Jintiparnta (Native Truffle) and hair belt.

Mina Mina Jukurrpa relates to a major Women’s Dreaming site that is sacred to Warlpiri women of the Napangardi and Napanangka skin groups. Mina Mina is located well to the west of Yuendumu in the Tanami Desert, in country that features and is dominated by salt lakes, claypan soakages and sandhills.

The Dreaming describes the journey of a group of women of all ages who travelled east gathering food, collecting Ngalyipi (Snake Vine) and performing ceremonies as they travelled. The women began their journey at Mina Mina where Karlangu (digging sticks) emerged from the ground. Taking these implements the women travelled east creating Janyinki and other sites. Their journey took them eventually beyond Warlpiri country.

The ngalyipi vine grows up the trunks and limbs of the Kurrkara (Desert Oak) trees. Ngalyipi is a sacred vine to Napangardi and Napanangka women and has many uses. It can be used as a ceremonial wrap, as a strap to carry parrajas (wooden bowls) that are laden with bush tucker, and as a tourniquet for headaches.

Many major women artists, principally from the community of Yuendumu, feature this important Dreaming story in their paintings. This story has many aspects associated with it – about the country, the ceremonial implements, the dance of the Ancestral women, the journey and the materials collected. Therefore, the artists tend to focus on specific parts of the story for their paintings. Judy painted the sinuous shapes representing Ngalyipi, the Snake Vine, whose fibrous strands are used to weave ceremonial skirts for the dancers. Judy was at the forefront of a move towards more abstract rendering of Jukurrpa by Warlpiri artists, however her work retains strong kurruwarri, the details which tell of the sacredness of place and song in her culture.

Please Note: This Artist passed away in 2016 and out of respect for Aboriginal culture, we have removed the photograph of this Artist holding this artwork from our website.

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