Marissa Napanangka Anderson
Aboriginal Warlpiri woman
Marissa Napanangka Anderson was born in Katherine, NT in 1992. Katherine is a town located 320 kms southeast of Darwin and situated on the Katherine River. She grew up and attended school in Lajamanu, an Aboriginal community in semi-arid country on the edge of the Tanami Desert, halfway between Darwin and Alice Springs. Marissa began painting in 2011 with Warlukurlangu Aboriginal Corporation, an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre located in Yuendumu, a remote Aboriginal community 290 km from Alice Springs. Warlukurlangu Artists provide an outlet for Warlpiri artists to paint their cultural heritage and earn income from their work. She also helps out at the Art Centre, assisting in the preparation of art canvases. Painting patterns is something Marissa loves doing and she paints her Mother’s Ngapa Jukurrpa (Water Dreaming), stories which relate directly to her land, its features and the plants and animals that inhabit it. She began using traditional iconography but because of her love for pattern and colour she has developed an individualist style using pattern and design in a variety of contexts to depict her traditional jukurrpa.
The site depicted in this painting is Puyurra, west of Yuendumu. In the usually dry creek beds are water soakages or naturally occurring wells. Two Jangala men, rainmakers, sang the rain, unleashing a giant storm. It travelled across the country, with the lighting striking the land. This storm met up with another storm from Wapuryali, to the west, was picked up by a ‘kirrkarlan’ (brown falcon [Falco berigora]) and carried further west until it dropped the storm at Purlungyanu, where it created a giant soakage.
At Puyurru the bird dug up a giant snake, ‘warnayarra’ (the ‘rainbow serpent’) and the snake carried water to create the large lake, Jillyiumpa, close to an outstation in this country. This story belongs to Jangala men and Nangala women. In contemporary Warlpiri paintings traditional inconography is used to represent the Jukurrpa, associated sites and other elements. In many paintings of the Jukurrpa curved and straight lines represent the ‘ngawarra’ (flood waters) running through the landscape. Motifs frequently used to depict this story include small circles representing ‘mulju’) water soakages) and short bars depicting ‘mangkurdu’ (cumulus and stratocumulus clouds).